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Castlegar Chamber launches fundraising campaign for new building

Mercer Celgar has donated $500,000 towards high-tech boardroom

The Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce’s new building is one step closer thanks to a large contribution by Mercer Celgar.

The $500,000 donation coincides with the launch of the chamber’s corporate and community fundraising campaign to secure the remaining finances needed to complete the building.

The $5.1 million project will serve as a confluence for tourism and economic development for the region. In addition to the chamber, the 7,000-square-foot building will house the Visitor Centre, Economic Development office, a satellite branch of Community Futures and Destination Castlegar. It will also include co-working spaces and a large collective space for community events or gatherings, tech charging stations, office spaces for rent and will also be accessible for public use.

“The history of the Mercer Celgar mill is a story of what we can accomplish when we work together as a community to build shared success,” said Bill MacPherson, Celgar’s managing director. “We are thrilled to do just that as we take this opportunity of partnership with the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce to develop the new chamber building. We’ve been part of Castlegar for over 60 years, and we are proud to continue working together to make lasting, positive impacts on our community and the families that live here.”

Mercer’s donation is earmarked for the boardroom — a space designed to hold 40-50 people and ensure seamless meetings both in person and virtual through high-tech features including a projector system.

The boardroom also features sliding glass doors that open up to the West Kootenay Gateway Visitor Centre portion of the building, allowing the space to be used for even larger community gatherings.

“This space is really unique,” says chamber director Tammy Verin-Burk. “In the West Kootenay, we don’t have a facility to accommodate meetings at this level.”

“We are so incredibly grateful to partner with Mercer to make this facility happen.”

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Verigin-Burk is encouraging everyone to consider participating in making this legacy building happen.

Donations of any size are welcome with those making a minimum $100 donation getting their name included on the sponsor wall. The wall features a river design and names will be engraved on bubbles in the river — the larger the donation, the larger the bubble. For those looking to make a significant contribution, there are more options such as sponsoring an entire room in the building.

The chamber still needs to raise about $1.5 million to complete the project.

So far, the Government of Canada has contributed $1.4 million to the project, the province has contributed $924,000 and Destination BC has contributed $200,000.

As a non-profit organization, the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce operates separately from the City of Castlegar and is not funded by tax dollars.

“We are very grateful that the city is partnering with us on this project by allowing us to building on a lot owned by the city,” says Verigin-Burk.

Plans for the building include building to Passive House standards and going as green and local as possible. It will feature mass timber produced by Kalesnikoff Lumber.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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