Looking back and looking ahead…

I always look forward to the first few weeks of the year when it comes to news as it is a chance to look at where we have come in 12 months.

I always look forward to the first few weeks of the year when it comes to news as it is a chance to look at where we have come in the past 12 months through year-end results for different groups. This week both the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the Northern BC Real Estate Board released their 2011 results, and it paints a positive picture.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority and the terminals in Prince Rupert saw increases across the board in 2011. Ridley Terminals bested the record they set last year in impressive fashion, shipping about 1.3 million tonnes more than 2010. Fairview Terminal, at a time when other ports are seeing a decline in traffic and when the global economy is still facing some challenges, saw their imports increase and surpassed 100,000 TEUs being exported. And Prince Rupert Grain was up this year as well, so all the terminals are in the black when it comes to traffic in 2011.

The realty numbers are a bit of a mixed bag. The number of properties sold is down as is the average selling price for a home. Prince Rupert had the fewest properties sold across the northwest and has the highest number of properties still on the market. Obviously none of that is good news.

But for those who have followed the realty numbers throughout the year, the rebound in the second half is a positive. Halfway through the year the number of properties sold in 2011 was 16 down from 2010. To rebound from 16 fewer properties being sold through the first six months of the year to being down just a single property shows either a) interest in Prince Rupert increased in the second half of the year or b) those living here already were now in a position where they could become homeowners.

Of course the big tell-tale number of Prince Rupert’s changes will come on February 8 when Statistics Canada releases the Census numbers. This won’t tell how we did against 2010, but what has happened in Prince Rupert since the 2006 Census. I’ve heard people say we’ve grown from the 13,392 in 2006, and I’ve heard people say we’ve declined significantly.

A lot has changed from 2006 – the opening of Fairview Terminal for example – and it will be interesting to see what the census tells us.