Regional Pilot Communities in the Kootenays

The Kootenay region is located in the southeast corner of B.C., between the Rocky Mountains, the United States border and the Thompson Okanagan region. The region is one of pristine rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mineral hot springs, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains. The Kootenay Rockies’ raw, immense beauty makes it one of Canada's leading destinations for outdoor pursuits. With four of the province’s seven national parks, it’s perfect for backcountry adventures like heli-, cat- and downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and river rafting. Kootenay is also known for its wonderfully restored heritage towns, thriving arts communities and its many cultural events.
 
Top industries in the Kootenay include health care and social assistance, retail trade, accommodation and food services, business and building support services, and information, culture and recreation.

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Participating communities in the Kootenay region:  

Castlegar

Community Description:
Castlegar and its surrounding district are looking for new businesses and entertainment options that will be appealing to workers in the post-secondary education and technology sectors. They also want to attract new businesses that cater to tourists. In all sectors, they will prioritize businesses that are unique and diverse, and that support green initiatives.

Castlegar and its district make up a highly collaborative and supportive region with a strong chamber of commerce, supportive planning and development departments, and exceptional business supports. 

Castlegar is rich in heritage, is the sculpture capital of Canada, and is an internationally awarded “communities in bloom” region. Located where the Columbia and Kootenay rivers meet, Castlegar has exceptional recreational opportunities ranging from paddle sports, to fishing and boating, to leisure adventure activities. The community has several elementary schools and a high school, and is home to the main campus of Selkirk college. Their local community complex has recreational activities for the whole family, including an indoor swimming pool, ice rinks, and a fitness centre.

Castlegar and district is a progressive region that has worked collaboratively to build their economy. They have recently launched a new five-year economic development strategy, and a new downtown revitalization and housing strategy. These initiatives are already showing results, with new housing projects and new businesses currently under development. 

Priority Sectors:
321 - Wood product manufacturing
443 - Electronics and Appliance Stores
444 - Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers
448 - Clothing and clothing accessories stores
451 - Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores
452 - General Merchandise Stores
453 - Miscellaneous Store Retailers
541 - Professional, scientific and technical services
713 - Amusement, gambling and recreation industries
722 - Food services and drinking places

Population: 14,713
Website: www.Castlegar.com
Contact: cdcoced@castlegar.com

Columbia Valley

Community Description:
The Columbia Valley is looking to attract new management & consulting services that can support its existing business communities. They also want to encourage new manufacturing businesses that can create goods locally and sell their products outside the region, as well as accommodation providers to boost capacity in peak seasons.

The area is home to five locally governed jurisdictions and two indigenous communities: Akisqnuk First Nation, Canal Flats, Invermere, Radium Hot Springs, Shuswap Indian Band, and the Regional District of East Kootenay Areas F and G. The process for starting a business varies between communities, but Columbia Valley staff can help entrepreneurs through the steps necessary for their chosen jurisdiction. In addition, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce supports business owners throughout the Valley.

A region with a rich cultural and economic history, and world-class outdoor assets, the Columbia Valley is located between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountain Range. Many residents once arrived as visitors but were inspired to stay and call the Columbia Valley home. 

The area has a long history of entrepreneurialism, particularly in the natural resource sector and in agriculture. As the world shifts, the business focus is changing and diversifying in the Valley, but the commitment to supporting entrepreneurs remains strong. The Columbia Valley has also become a popular place for remote workers looking to achieve work/life balance. The Valley’s First Nations, municipalities, and the Regional District of East Kootenay support them all by working closely together with common goals and visions.

Priority Sectors:
5416 Management, scientific and technical consulting services
7211 Traveller accommodation
3116 Meat product manufacturing
1112 Vegetable and melon farming
 
Population: 9,482
Website: www.investcolumbiavalley.ca
Contact: CV-BCPNP@cvchamber.ca
 

Cranbrook

Community Description:
Cranbrook is looking for entrepreneurs in the hospitality, tourism, food & beverage, commercial & retail, accommodation, and transportation industries. Some of the businesses that Cranbrook would like to attract include clothing stores, electronics retailers, gift shops, restaurants, micro-breweries, hotels and tourism experiences, entertainment, travel agencies, limousine services, dry-cleaning, and student exchange services.

The City of Cranbrook is a business-friendly community offering low taxes, competitive costs, a stable, growing business environment, and access to an educated workforce. It has a variety of business supports and organizations. Economic Development staff share important market research and business intelligence, and facilitate local connections to support the establishment and growth of your business. They can also help connect you with various incentives offered by regional, provincial, and federal organizations to establish your business.

Cranbrook’s location puts you in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains. Lakes, rivers, and trails for every kind of adventure are right at your doorstep, as well as parks, golf courses, arenas and rinks, and a wide variety of arts, entertainment, and cultural activities.

Building on five straight years of growth, Cranbrook anticipates continuing to be one of the fastest growing communities in British Columbia. The city’s strategic plan includes building a robust economy, economic resilience and financial sustainability, a revitalization of the downtown area, and several environmental goals.
 
Priority Sectors:
722 - Food services and drinking places
713 - Amusement, gambling and recreation industries
4452 - Specialty food stores
448 - Clothing and clothing accessories stores
451 - Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores
454 - Non-store retailers
5415 - Computer systems design and related services
6216 - Home health care services

Population: 21,502
Website: www.choosecranbrook.ca
Contact: pnp@cranbrook.ca
 

Kimberley

Kimberley is an ideal place for new tourism and recreation businesses to thrive in a welcoming and sustainable environment. Kimberley is also interesting in attracting entrepreneurs working in clean-tech pursuits, outdoor recreation testing, and manufacturing.

The city has a close-knit business community with several associations and a progressive local government, and the planning department works closely with Mayor and Council to streamline the development and variance process. Kimberley’s Investment Incentive Program provides tax exemptions for eligible projects, and the city offers business planning advice through one-on-one consultations with key staff and decision-makers.

Kimberley offers the perfect mix of business and pleasure. Residents can ski, hike or bike all day then hop on a quick flight to Calgary or Vancouver from the nearby international airport. Kimberley has a public school system that includes French immersion, as well as a regional campus for the College of the Rockies. The city offers a wide variety of amenities, including a health centre, an aquatic centre, a pedestrian-only mall, and a conference centre. It also features an active arts scene, golfing, skiing, an 800-hectare nature park, trails, rivers, and lakes.

The City of Kimberley’s population has been growing at a steady rate for many years. Kimberley will continue to support this growth by cultivating community as a base for knowledge workers and their families to prioritize the things that matter most – focusing on business, lifestyle, and family, without compromise. 
 
Priority Sectors:
3399 - Other miscellaneous manufacturing
6116 - Other schools and instruction
6117 - Educational support services
7139 - Other amusement and recreation industries       

Population: 8,151
Website: www.kimberley.ca
Contact: pnp@kimberley.ca
 
 

Nelson & Central Kootenay

The Nelson region has an active and diverse range of business and economic sectors, including manufacturing, retail, food and beverage, tourism, and forestry. Nelson is currently seeking new businesses in the product manufacturing, technology and professional services, and computer systems services industries. The region has positioned itself to support growth in the technology sector and is excited to welcome new entrepreneurs in that area.
 
The City of Nelson and the nearby Electoral Areas E and F are part of the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership. Its entrepreneurial community is supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures, Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism, and the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology.
 
Located on the shores of Kootenay Lake, Nelson is central to several large cities, and the city’s business community is as vibrant as its cultural and geographical landscape.
 
The Nelson region is growing fast. It has welcomed many newcomers from other parts of Canada, the US and other countries over the past 10 years, and especially over the past 18 months. With a diverse economy that provides a wide range of employment opportunities to its quality work force, the Nelson region is a strong location for investment and entrepreneurship.
 
Priority Sectors:
334 - Computer and electronic product manufacturing
3219 - Other wood product manufacturing
5415 - Computer systems design and related services

Population: 11,557
Website: www.discovernelson.com    
www.nelsonkootenaylaketourism.com
Contact: info@discovernelson.com
 
 

Rossland

Community Description:
Rossland is looking for entrepreneurs to establish companies in the IT, small manufacturing, and construction industries. It would also like to attract new businesses in the hospitality industry, including accommodation and full-service restaurants.

Rossland ‘s local economic development offices have been in operation for 10 years, and can offer advice and assistance to new entrepreneurs. Infrastructure for IT-related companies as well as small manufacturing exist already. In addition, the community has an established year-round tourism industry.

The growing community of Rossland is a great place to live, work and play. The nearby Red Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer. Because the region boasts many lakes, boating and water sports are very popular in the summer months. The Columbia River offers great fishing all year round, and there are multiple golf courses nearby.

The community is currently working on housing development that will support the anticipated increase in demand. Because of the growth potential of its rural setting, Rossland expects a steady increase in business opportunities and skilled workforce to the area, which will lead to long-term economic stability and sustainability.
 
Priority Sectors:
2361 - Residential building construction
2362 - Non-residential building construction
7211 - Traveller accommodation
7223 - Special food services
7224 - Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)
7225 - Full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places
5182 - Data processing, hosting, and related services
5191 - Other information services
3219 - Other wood product manufacturing
3329 - Other fabricated metal product manufacturing

Population: 4,096
Website: www.lcic.ca
Contact: info@lcic.ca
 

Trail

Community Description:
Trail is looking for entrepreneurs to establish metallurgical clean tech and supply chain companies. They are also seeking recycling companies and their specific supply chains, IT companies, and construction companies.

The Trail area already has a unique established ecosystem in industrial circular economy. Under the banner of Metal Tech Alley, Trail has established itself as a world leader in this field. Because of its existing industry, Trail already has a strong supply chain in place to support industrial companies.

The nearby Red Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer. Because the region boasts many lakes, boating and water sports are very popular. The Columbia River offers great fishing all year round in a pristine environment. With seven hydro dams in the region, all of Trail’s power is clean power.

Trail is focused on using existing infrastructure and businesses, as well as newly arriving entrepreneurs, to grow their circular economy hub as a climate change solution with world class attributes. Because of the growth potential of its rural setting, Trail expects a vast increase in business opportunities and skilled workforce to the area, which will lead to economic stability and sustainability.

Priority Sectors:
4181 - Recyclable material merchant wholesalers
3313 - Alumina and aluminum production and processing
3314 - Non-ferrous metal (except aluminum) production and processing
3315 - Foundries
5182 - Data processing, hosting, and related services
5191 - Other information services
2361 - Residential building construction
2362 - Non-residential building construction

Population: 8,250
Website: www.lcic.ca
Contact: info@lcic.ca
 

West Boundary 

Community Description:
West Boundary is seeking entrepreneurs to enhance the area’s three major industries. Agriculture is a big part of West Boundary’s rich history, and a provincially funded Food Hub is under development to support larger scale food processing, research & development, marketing & distribution. West Boundary is also looking for experienced businesses to produce value-added, manufactured wood products in support of its forestry industry, and for outdoor recreation tourist attractions and travel services.

West Boundary works with neighbouring communities throughout the Boundary area on economic development. There is a Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a strong non-profit organization that connects nearby communities in development activities.

People want to live in West Boundary because of the rural community culture, and access to recreation in wilderness areas with ski hills, the Trans Canada Trail, and the Kettle River stretching through the communities. The annual Rock Creek Fall Fair attracts visitors and showcases West Boundary’s agricultural heritage. Newcomers are welcomed into the many community organizations. Residents value relationships created through community involvement, collaboration, and creativity.

Over the next five years, West Boundary will strive to retain economic benefits locally from natural resources and agricultural production, increase the viability of farming, and shift to more sustainable forestry practices with less waste. They hope to attract more families and create opportunities to benefit from increased tourism. West Boundary anticipates that new technological advancements will encourage industrial expansion and rural growth.
 
Priority Sectors:
7139 - Other amusement and recreation industries       
32199 - All other wood product manufacturing
31199 - All other food manufacturing
54171 Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
5615 - Travel arrangement and reservation services

Population: 2,155
Website: www.westboundaryconnect.com
Contact: pnp@trailstotheboundary.com