While the current unemployment rate in the city soars above 12.5 per cent and the fishing industry continues to face many, many struggles the prospect of better days for Prince Rupert is on the mind of a local accountant.
Praveen Vohora, owner of the Vohora and Company accounting group provided his thoughts on Prince Rupert's future for the Daily News on August 8th.
Vohora optimistic about economic growth
“You can actually feel the city’s business leaders growing in confidence when you speak to them,”—Praveen Vohora
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, August 8, 2008
Through the 30-plus years Praveen Vohora has lived in Prince Rupert the chartered accountant has seen how the city’s finances checked out.
There were times the finances were a little shaky and things were not good.
But now Vohora, the sole-owner of Vohora and Company accounting firm, who was just elected to his fourth term as the north’s representative on the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia (ICABC), thinks things are looking sunny in the City of Rainbows.
“You can actually feel the city’s business leaders growing in confidence when you speak to them,” said Vohora.
“Confidence is really important. If most people are not confident then they won’t invest. Even in capital goods like homes and cars they have to have confidence in the value of the product.
Since the Enron Corporation accounting fraud scandal rocked the financial world, there have been several rule changes as it pertains to accounting in British Columbia.
Enron was the Houston, Texas-based energy company that was found guilty of defrauding its investors by hiding its losses in offshore accounts.
As the north’s representative in the ICABC, Vohora will get to voice the north regions (from Prince Rupert to Prince George and everywhere north from there) opinions on the changes in British Columbia accounting. It is a role he cherishes.
“It is giving back to the profession that has done so well for me. It is time to give back,” said Vohora.
About five years ago Praveen Vohora’s confidence was not high on the city he loves. He felt Prince Rupert was going downwards and decided to open up shop south in Surrey, even while still operating his office here.
However, since then business is doing so well that his office in Prince Rupert is outperforming his office in the lower mainland.
Vohora said that directly or indirectly the city could thank the Prince Rupert Port enlargement for the prosperity.
“In the 80’s (during the last boom days) this was a resource based town. So fishing, logging and mining were big but there would always be these fluctuations.”
But now that the city has the port he believes this will bring not only stability, it will bring necessary growth to the town.
“If you look at Surrey it grows 15,000 people per-year. That is like dropping in one Prince Rupert per-year. The reason for that is the Delta container port encourages businesses to locate there, bringing people and spin-offs that are important.
Not that Prince Rupert should expect to see that kind of exponential growth, Vohora clarified. But the port does give the city a kind of drawing power that attracts business owners.
“For us, a guy in Hazelton who could be logging in the past would have to send his product down to Vancouver to get it shipped. But now Prince Rupert can help him out.”
Asked about what he appreciated most as a man and father living in Prince Rupert, Vohora said it was the community feel to the city that you can’t duplicate in bigger urban environments.
“(This) is a great place for my kids to grow up in and get a place where you can really get involved in the community.”