Castlegar & District is projected to be the fastest growing area in the Kootenay's in the next 20 years (source: RDI, 2017).
As the year draws to a close, we take time to reflect on the year that has passed. There have been a significant number of success stories and initiatives that have taken place in the last year. These have contributed to Castlegar & District’s positive success story that continues due to the hard work of its citizens and business owners.
Castlegar is experiencing a significant population increase. Recently, the City reported that the population currently stands at 9,023 (there are an additional ~6,000 people in Area I and Area J right across the river). This amounts to an increase of 12% since the 2016 Federal Census. These population figures probably do not include many of the students attending Selkirk College as Castlegar would not be considered their permanent address. The population increase presents opportunity to many businesses, including retailers, builders and landlords.
2019 saw the opening of many new businesses in Castlegar & District, or the announcement of major projects, these include, but are not limited to Humble Bean Coffee Co, LLC 42, Alopex, Grand Buddha (under new management), Maggies Mug, Studio Bronze, Higher Path, SpiritLeaf, Kootenay Cannabis, Jimmies Cannabis, Cannaland, Cannwest, Tailout Brewery, Edward Jones and Waf Pho. Castlegar & District is proud that these companies have seen the potential that the region offers.
Numerous Economic Development events happened during 2019, the biggest of which was a State of the Kootenays Wine & Cheese networking event featuring guest speaker Helmut Pasterick, Chief Economist from Credit 1, and local business leaders discussing the state of the local economy.
The profits from the State of the Kootenays event were re-invested into taking approximately 30 students from Stanley Humphries Secondary School to the Lower Mainland where we visited a number of Technology companies and Digital Film Studios. In addition, funds from the event were used to start a 6-week after school coding club at Robson Elementary School. Other community initiatives such as Communities in Bloom also help the Economic Development office significantly by beautifying the City during the Summer months – after all, first impressions count.
2019 saw a significant increase in the number of inquiries to the Economic Development office. Experience tells us that many of these will take 1-2 years before coming to fruition. As such, it is important to keep the momentum going and keeping a strong sales channel.
When the Economic Development office was established in late 2017, there were approximately 39 acres of land at the West Kootenay Airport that had been sitting idle for a long time. Due to the efforts of the office (LLC42 and Cannwest Phase 1 & 2), only 8 acres remain today – and we had had a number of inquiries on this remaining land, weird. Other initiatives that the office has undertaken in order to attract new business include targeted marketing campaigns to the Beer, Housing and Entertainment sectors, as well as broad based advertising in local and regional media.
April, 2019: The Sold Out - State of the Kootenays economic development forum showcased a positive economic future for the West Kootenays.
The event sold out weeks in advance with keynote speakers from various local sectors. The speakers confirmed what a lot of what we have seen in local economy over the last few years. Retail space has been filling up, developers are building homes and the population is increasing.
For the full story on this event: https://www.castlegarnews.com/business/kootenay-economy-looking-good/
January, 2019. Castlegar & District Economic Development predicts a bright future for the areas retailers, housing developers, and overall growth.
January 2019: Castlegar's first micro-brewery is set to open in August, 2019. For more on this story, please visit: https://www.castlegarnews.com/business/first-craft-brewery-set-to-open-in-castlegar/
A small sample of many of the great outdoor activities in our area.