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Choose West Kootenay

Four cities, a number of small communities, 60,000 Columbia/Kootenay Valley residents. mountain playground, the good life.

The West Kootenay has a distinct cultural flavour, and warmth and openness of humanity that will bring a quick smile to your face…and a lingering feeling of contentment. Lifestyle is not urban rush, but relaxed mix of outdoor rugged and urban cool. There is a creative undertow to the human tide.

The West Kootenay is the last heavily invested valley between Vancouver and Calgary. As a result, development isn’t over-baked. There’s just enough to keep you highly entertained, but not so much that you choke on car exhaust on the way to enjoying the great outdoors.
The area’s economic base is stable and diversified (forestry, mining, hydro, government services, retail, tourism). Business conditions are dynamic and affordable. The population base is big enough to support full services. However, the region remains under-invested. There is significant investment opportunity in development of tourism-related activity (niche accommodation, attractions, recreational residential property, arts and crafts, food services, and retail services), commercial services, professional services, and support industry/services for the big economic drivers in the West Kootenay. Independent entrepreneurs and creative spirits will also find resonance with their soul in a place where business is important, but the lifestyle dog still wags the business tail. Our location brings with it a business and cost of living affordability that entertains the notion that entrepreneurs can both balance the books and balance life.

Castlegar, Pop. 12,500

Do It In Town…Do It Outdoors

“There’s doing it, then there’s doing it. Your first love... that last rollercoaster ride. Add to your life’s highlight reel by borrowing a bit of our spirit of people and place. Castlegar is hub-central for exploring life’s tickle trunk of outdoor activity in the West Kootenay. Be an action hero. Be a cultural sponge. Life’s an adventure. Start a new one in Castlegar, B.C.”

So says our tourism ad, which celebrates both our geography and the laid back friendliness of our people. In the City of Castlegar the mountains meet and the rivers converge. We’re naturally beautiful, complete with fruit trees, grape vines that substitute as hedge rows, hot summers, snowy warm winters, and rugged outdoor to refined City experiences. From river parks to cultural history on display in everything from events to our international Sculpture Walk, Castlegar has much to enjoy in its own right. Outside the City the West Kootenay is a rather spiffy place to keep busy entertaining yourself. Downhill skiing, ‘affordable awe’ in regional championship golf courses, mountain hiking and biking on serene to extreme, rivers to fish, pristine lakes to boat or stare at ripples…..we could go on.

Castlegar’s economy is driven by five pillars: Forestry, Education, Government/Education, Retail, and Tourism. The breadth of economic activity in Castlegar reflects the City’s role as the geographic and economic centre of the Columbia and Kootenay River valleys (60,000 residents) extending north to Nelson and south to Trail/Rossland. Forestry and mining activity have rebounded out of the recession. Opportunities to diversify and leverage these larger industry anchors include centralized commercial and professional services, and independent and creative entrepreneurial spirits attracted by the combination of soulful people, warm climate mountain geography, and critical mass of population that supports full services.

Nelson, Pop. 10,250

Municipal website
Visitor website

Nelson is a city where life is unhurried and people say "hello" to strangers. With 350 heritage buildings, a fully restored and operating streetcar, lakeside (Kootenay Lake) mountain geography and a thriving arts and small business community, Nelson is a combination of storybook charm and cosmopolitan sophistication. Nelson’s picturesque setting was the backdrop for a classic Steve Martin movie – Roxanne – in 1986. Nelson is working to attract high tech industry, education, tourism, value-added manufacturing, light industry and other areas of technology to our economy.

Rossland, Pop. 3,600

Municipal website
Visitor website

Rossland was voted "Canada's #1 Outdoor Town" in 2007 by Canadian outdoor magazine Explore. Set on an ancient volcanic valley deep in the Monashee Mountains, Rossland is an outdoor adventure mecca for fans of mountain biking, hiking, cross-county skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, cat-skiing, and golfing. Mountain trails have generated renown as one of Canada's top mountain biking spots – including the Seven Summits Skyline flagship trail that traverses more than 30 km across high peaks. The Skyline trail was awarded Epic Ride status by the International Mountain Bike Association and Trail of the Year by the US's Bike Magazine. Red Mountain Ski Resort has received accolades ranging from “Best Authentic and Funky Resort Experience” to “Best Powder, Best Trees, Best Steeps”, to “Best Fall Line Steeps” and one of the "Top 5 Freeride Spots.”

Tourism is in the economic driver’s seat in Rossland. Rossland is becoming an even better year round destination with the recent development of Redstone golf course, an 18 hole Les Furber design (selected by SCOREGolf as one of the top five new golf courses in Canada in 2010). The course includes real estate development/opportunities. The continued development of on mountain accommodation at Red Mountain Resort (ski) will increase nightly accommodation. A number of historic buildings in picturesque central Rossland survive, a vestige of the gold rush of the late 1800’s; for a time, Rossland was one of Western Canada's largest cities. From spas to annual events (Rossland Mountain Film Festival, Kokanee Springfest, Winter Carnival) to an active visual and performance arts sector, Rossland is a tourism destination in its own right.

Trail, Pop. 7,700

The City of Trail is situated on the Columbia River 29 km south of the West Kootenay Regional Airport. The City is characterized by affordable real estate, outstanding recreational facilities, an abundance of outdoor activities, and active arts and culture. Trail has been declared B.C.’s Number One Sports Town, offering a wealth of sports – from golfing and fishing to mountain biking, hiking and skiing, and especially hockey. The Teck Lead-Zinc Smelter complex, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is located in Trail and drives the regional economy. The City is also home to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, the largest diagnostic and acute care hospital in the West Kootenays. Trail’s ‘cool factor’ is symbolized by the ‘Graffiti Grannies,’ two retired women who scour the City and paint over graffiti.
Economic drivers in Trail are mining, transportation, energy (hydro), retail, and healthcare.

Additional Information Resources

1) Investment
2) Visiting the Area
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