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Old 12-04-2012, 02:33 PM   #1
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Moving to Northern BC, Experiences?

I'm a new grad in the private sector of healthcare and have been only working p/t in the city

An opportunity has come up to move to rural BC. More specifically it's in NE BC by Ft. St John's/Chetwynd/Dawson Creek

I recall there being a few threads of those working in similar places in Alberta but they get killer salary, OT and travel allowance. Only difference is this isn't labour intensive job working outdoors and there's no OT. The thing is, the wage is actually the same as what I make now and there's no travel allowance but I get actual full-time hours.


I'm single in my early-mid 20's so I am not really tied down. In fact it's my first time moving out.

Things I would like to know:

Living expenses..what to expect in terms of cost of food/groceries compared to Vancouver?

I'll be needing a car...how would a small RWD like a Miata handle their snowy conditions with winter tires? I know 90% drives trucks/suv. Buy in Vancouver or buy up there? Local gas prices?

Different for everyone but how frequent do you end up coming back to Vancouver after you get settled in? Flights are pretty expensive. I can fly to Back East for less. I've looked at greyhound..18 hours

How does the Northern residents deduction/taxable travel benefits work? I've looked and its descrption is quite broad
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t2222/t2222-11e.pdf

what are some activities to do during the winter? I know hunting and snowboarding and just general snow acitivities are big. Anything else? summer?

Most are there to work as well, mostly in mining/forestry. Is it easy to get along with people..or do most just work crazy hours..go home and rest.

I'm just looking for experiences of folks that have lived there or experienced living in rural North for work.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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I'll be needing a car...how would a small RWD like a Miata handle their snowy conditions with winter tires? I know 90% drives trucks/suv. Buy in Vancouver or buy up there?



you'll get around faster with snow shoes and a walking stick
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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are you fucking kidding, a miata?

nearest mountain would be snow king, which is pretty far from ft st john like a good 4 hrs at least.

Buy in vancouver, theres way less selection up north, selection is lower, prices are higher and everything is rusted out and beat to hell after a few years.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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I've been to the places you listed for work so here's my first-hand experience.

1. Easy to get along with people. They're friendlier outside of Vancouver. Finding like-minded people will be difficult as you are going to have to adjust to their social and economic standards. They don't care about your Gucci, LV, and Prada man purse. People up north live humbler lives. Keep that sort of stuff in mind.

Most locals will put in their typical 9 - 5 and call it a day, go home to their families and enjoy their time together. Happy Hour with co-workers or hitting the gym with your boss is unheard of. No Yaletown Yuppies and go-getters up north unless they're from the city.

2. Bicycling, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing and camping are popular activities. Generally, anything that involves the great outdoors.

3. Flights are without a doubt expensive. Depends how much you're willing to spend and how necessary you feel it is to come back to Vancouver. Tough call. Your mileage may vary.

4. Should be ok as long as you have a hard-top, none of this retarded Hellaflush nonsense, and you have snow tires. Don't plan on going far with it. Road conditions can be very bad. If you're planning to putt around from home, to work, and to the grocery store, it should be fine. Don't bother if you don't have a hard top. Buy your car there if you don't care about what you own/drive. Might cost a bit more and fewer selection.

Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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what's a reliable winter car that's fun...cheap...decent on gas?
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #6
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There is almost no reason to go up if not for the money. If you're a professional (aka not ex con or druggie) and have post secondary, there's no reason to come up for less than 6 figures, and in some cases (Engineering, dentists, doctors...) there's no reason to go up for less than 200k/year as you could be making close to that in a major city like Calgary or Edmonton.

People aren't bad, just be careful as even in small towns there are safe places and dangerous places. Food is terrible, but Vancouver spoils you that way.

The summer's are quite nice, the country is pretty picturesque in the (short) summer. Golfing is cheap.

Flights are stupid expensive and AC will continue to gouge as it's mostly buisness passengers. Return can get up to 2K for round trip.

I hope this path and the experience you gain leads you to some great gig back in a southern town/city very soon.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
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what's a good winter car that's fun...cheap...decent on gas?
Suzuki SX4? Mod it rally-cross style.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:52 PM   #8
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One of my buddys lives out in Hudson's Hope, which is just about an hour north of Chetwynd. He works at the Hydro dam up there. He loves it, but then again he's been a Northerner for most of his life. I went up there a few summers ago, it's beautiful country.

You pretty much have to learn to love the outdoors to live out there, because that's all there is to do and to fully enjoy that you need a truck.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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I've been to the places you listed for work so here's my first-hand experience.

1. Easy to get along with people. They're friendlier outside of Vancouver. Finding like-minded people will be difficult as you are going to have to adjust to their social and economic standards. They don't care about your Gucci, LV, and Prada man purse. People up north live humbler lives. Keep that sort of stuff in mind.

Most locals will put in their typical 9 - 5 and call it a day, go home to their families and enjoy their time together. Happy Hour with co-workers or hitting the gym with your boss is unheard of. No Yaletown Yuppies and go-getters up north unless they're from the city.

4. Should be ok as long as you have a hard-top, none of this retarded Hellaflush nonsense, and you have snow tires. Don't plan on going far with it. Road conditions can be very bad. If you're planning to putt around from home, to work, and to the grocery store, it should be fine. Don't bother if you don't have a hard top. Buy your car there.

Good luck.
I have to disagree with these points.

People are not humbler up here, they're just as shallow and just as stupid. It's same shit different pile. People make serious dough up here, and they care about their brands and toys, just not the same ones as in the city. Instead of M3s, it's F350s. Instead of having a penthouse in Yaletown, it's having an acreage on the lake. Instead of motorcycles, LV murses, and fancy clothes it's having a garage with 2 Quads, 2 Snowmobiles and a gun collection.


Also, DO NOT think about driving up here without an AWD or 4WD vehicle. You are seriously putting your life at risk. Especially if you have to move between cities like it sounds like you will have to.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:09 PM   #10
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Fair enough. And I respect the insight and detail you shared.

I have never lived up north. I have only traveled there for work on a short-term basis and did so for 2 years. And you're right. It really is the same shit but a different pile.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:09 PM   #11
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what's a reliable winter car that's fun...cheap...decent on gas?
A good year-round vehicle in the North would be a Silverado, Sierra, Canyon, Colarado, F150, F250, F350, F100, Ram, Dakota, Tacoma, Tundra, T100....

A FWD car, no.
A RWD car, HELL no.
An AWD car, maybe, if you're able to make friends with a person who has a truck.

In the North, you don't hang out at bubble tea joints.

You ride horses, hunt, fish, trap, camp, ride quads and skidoos.

You won't have much luck pulling a horse trailer with a Impreza, and the ride-height will be a complication on logging roads traveling to hunting and fishing spots.

It's a different life.
A completely different life.
It's not a life the average Lower Mainland resident would enjoy.
If you've never hunted, fished, or enjoyed a rodeo, you're the average Lower Mainland resident.

You might enjoy living the Okanagan, but 99-1 odds, you'd hate the North.

If you're serious, invest in a flight and spend a day or two exploring Dawson Creek before making the move. You never know, you might like it. It's a big risk quitting your current job, and moving North not knowing though. I love it, personally. It's worth considering, I honestly get the feeling you wouldn't like it though.

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I have to disagree with these points.

People are not humbler up here, they're just as shallow and just as stupid. It's same shit different pile. People make serious dough up here, and they care about their brands and toys, just not the same ones as in the city. Instead of M3s, it's F350s. Instead of having a penthouse in Yaletown, it's having an acreage on the lake. Instead of motorcycles, LV murses, and fancy clothes it's having a garage with 2 Quads, 2 Snowmobiles and a gun collection.


Also, DO NOT think about driving up here without an AWD or 4WD vehicle. You are seriously putting your life at risk. Especially if you have to move between cities like it sounds like you will have to.
Outside of the oil industry, people are humbler and less brand focused.

You give the impression of someone with very limited insight into a certain segment of the North, if you don't mind my honesty.

Between the North and Cariboo, I've spent years living in small town communities, and based on my experience, I disagree with what you've said.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:19 PM   #12
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You will meet so many fucking rednecks you won't even believe it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:22 PM   #13
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I have to disagree with these points.

People are not humbler up here, they're just as shallow and just as stupid. It's same shit different pile. People make serious dough up here, and they care about their brands and toys, just not the same ones as in the city. Instead of M3s, it's F350s. Instead of having a penthouse in Yaletown, it's having an acreage on the lake. Instead of motorcycles, LV murses, and fancy clothes it's having a garage with 2 Quads, 2 Snowmobiles and a gun collection.


Also, DO NOT think about driving up here without an AWD or 4WD vehicle. You are seriously putting your life at risk. Especially if you have to move between cities like it sounds like you will have to.
It ultimately depends where you end up. Sure, if you go into an oil town, then that's more or less correct. Lots of young people making shit loads of money, with nothing to spend it on but trucks and toys. Oh, and hookers and blow. And I'm being genuinely serious about that last one.

However, if you go into a town that's not near an oil field, then things do tend to get better. My friend lives in Salmon Arm and while it's not an fair comparison with some more northernly towns like FSJ and DC, there's certainly a more friendly atmosphere to the town. Whenever I'm up there, I can strike up a conversation with virtually anyone I come across (provided they're not from Kelowna ) and the both of us would actually enjoy the talk.

And as everyone else says, far up north you don't want a vehicle like a Miata for winter. A proper 4x4 truck or SUV will be your best bet, along with the best snow tires you can buy. The main roads will be plowed, regardless of where you live, but many side streets and the highways can go for hours without being touched. Winters down here are a mid summer day compared to what they get.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:26 PM   #14
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Buy a sled and an ATV and you'll have plenty to occupy your time
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #15
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my suggestion for a vehicle:



studded nokian hakkapeliitta in the winter time



and

good year kevlar MTR's in the summer.



i've never lived up north but have travelled the area a bit. im not really sure it would be worth my while (personally) to head up there just for full time hours (at same pay)
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:32 PM   #16
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Buy a sled and an ATV and you'll have plenty to occupy your time
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Plenty of great places to go snowmobiling during the winter. Just find a patch of land that looks good and have at 'er!
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:33 PM   #17
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Outside of the oil industry, people are humbler and less brand focused.

You give the impression of someone with very limited insight into a certain segment of the North, if you don't mind my honesty.

Between the North and Cariboo, I've spent years living in small town communities, and based on my experience, I disagree with what you've said.
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It ultimately depends where you end up. Sure, if you go into an oil town, then that's more or less correct.
Dawson Creek and FSJ are oil and gas boom towns through and through. I thought that's what we were discussing here...

I'm sure there are a lot of Kumbaya small towns up North that aren't like Dawson and FSJ.

I'm not saying that people aren't nice, or you won't make friends, just that people in these 2 towns aren't humble and in a way it's their way of coping with the fact that they live in a shitty place. As in, sure this place sucks but look at all this great shit I have!

Speaking of all the great shit we have up here. Here's my trusty T4R that get's me through the winters up here!



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Old 12-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #18
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Dawson Creek and FSJ are oil and gas boom towns through and through. I thought that's what we were discussing here...

I'm sure there are a lot of Kumbaya small towns with nice and humble people up North, but these aren't them.
He said near them, so it could be Chetwynd or Mackenzie or even Tumbler Ridge. Those three towns are close enough that they can be considered, but far enough away that most rig pigs wont bother living there.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #19
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I'd like to see the look on local's faces when you putt around town or pull up to a job site in a bright red Miata.
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I'd like to see the look on local's faces when you putt around town or pull up to a job site in a bright red Miata.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:41 PM   #21
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why is the salary not higher? it's not just for forrestry where people are paid far far more to work up there - it's what draws people in. I personally wouldn't work there unless it was an experience or salary you absolutely cannot get here! young doctors i know go up there, whether for salary or just because it's so tough to get similar experience here and find a job here - is that your situation?
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:47 PM   #22
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He said near them, so it could be Chetwynd or Mackenzie or even Tumbler Ridge. Those three towns are close enough that they can be considered, but far enough away that most rig pigs wont bother living there.

Wrong.

A sizeable contingent on all energy projects in the region come from those towns.

Care to share why you talk like you know about this area? Why are you quoting your experiences from Salmon Arm? That city is further south longitude wise than Calgary and there isn't any similar industry.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:52 PM   #23
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I grew up in Mackenzie. Small town, not much to do..can't imagine living there as an adult if you don't love the outdoors. In the winter - snowmobile, skiing, watching mens league hockey, going to the bar(only one bar there). Summer - there is a lake for swimming, hiking, more outdoor stuff. They have a nice new gym though, so that's a plus. Lots of nice,down to earth people..might be good for a short term stay to get some perspective on how people live outside of the city
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Dawson Creek and FSJ are oil and gas boom towns through and through. I thought that's what we were discussing here...

I'm sure there are a lot of Kumbaya small towns up North that aren't like Dawson and FSJ.

I'm not saying that people aren't nice, or you won't make friends, just that people in these 2 towns aren't humble and in a way it's their way of coping with the fact that they live in a shitty place. As in, sure this place sucks but look at all this great shit I have!

Speaking of all the great shit we have up here. Here's my trusty T4R that get's me through the winters up here!
I know a few people in Dawson, and I've spent a bit of time there.

They're not materialistic at all, they're old cattle ranching families not oil industry people though. They don't consider the place they live shitty, they love it, so they don't feel the need to cope.

What you've said does make a good point. If you don't like the small town hunting and fishing lifestyle, you better make a lot of money to compensate, because you'll be miserable and bored.

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100% agree.

Sled > Sport Bike. IMO.

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Old 12-04-2012, 04:29 PM   #25
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Flights are stupid expensive and AC will continue to gouge as it's mostly buisness passengers. Return can get up to 2K for round trip.
oh what when I looked a typical long weekend returns were $800...i thought that was already pretty pricey

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A good year-round vehicle in the North would be a Silverado, Sierra, Canyon, Colarado, F150, F250, F350, F100, Ram, Dakota, Tacoma, Tundra, T100....

You ride horses, hunt, fish, trap, camp, ride quads and skidoos.

You won't have much luck pulling a horse trailer with a Impreza, and the ride-height will be a complication on logging roads traveling to hunting and fishing spots.

It's a different life.
A completely different life.
It's not a life the average Lower Mainland resident would enjoy.
If you've never hunted, fished, or enjoyed a rodeo, you're the average Lower Mainland resident.

You might enjoy living the Okanagan, but 99-1 odds, you'd hate the North.
those trucks all seem fun and good choices for the locale but how's the reliability/maintenance for those that aren't technically inclined?

I'm most definitely a city boy but honestly I would love to try embracing these outdoor activities


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If you're a professional (aka not ex con or druggie) and have post secondary, there's no reason to come up for less than 6 figures, and in some cases (Engineering, dentists, doctors...) there's no reason to go up for less than 200k/year as you could be making close to that in a major city like Calgary or Edmonton.
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why is the salary not higher? it's not just for forrestry where people are paid far far more to work up there - it's what draws people in. I personally wouldn't work there unless it was an experience or salary you absolutely cannot get here! young doctors i know go up there, whether for salary or just because it's so tough to get similar experience here and find a job here - is that your situation?
not quite... the profession I'm in, the wage is all pretty similar across the province...the salary is significantly better in Alberta whether it's Edmonton or the rural areas. Either way, I want to move out of Vancouver...even if wage is same I just don't get enough hours due to the market saturation.


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Dawson Creek and FSJ are oil and gas boom towns through and through. I thought that's what we were discussing here...

I'm sure there are a lot of Kumbaya small towns up North that aren't like Dawson and FSJ.

I'm not saying that people aren't nice, or you won't make friends, just that people in these 2 towns aren't humble and in a way it's their way of coping with the fact that they live in a shitty place. As in, sure this place sucks but look at all this great shit I have!
If I do go, it would be working/living in Chetwynd..I mentioned the other places cause it's nearby and and has the airport/bigger stores

I just need to know if people are friendly enough that they are willing to assimilate city folks nice enough to show them the ways of outdoor activities. Last thing I need is hookers and blow.

How are food/groceries/gas compared to Van?

Edit: How does the Northern residents deduction/taxable travel benefits work? I've looked and its descrption is quite broad
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t2222/t2222-11e.pdf
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