Mark Laver started as Castlegar and District’s new economic development manager in November 2017. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Castlegar poised for economic growth

Economic development manager seeing uptake in business inquiries.

Castlegar and District’s economic development manager says things are looking positive for the economic future of the area.

Mark Laver talked to city council Monday night about what has been happening with the local economy in the 10 months since he took the position.

The economic development manager position is funded by a partnership between the City of Castlegar, RDCK Areas I and J and the Columbia Basin Trust.

Laver is tasked with encouraging economic growth in the region and by all reports, he’s been a really busy guy.

“Economic development is not a quick win type of scenario — it is a long term investment,” explained Laver.

Initiatives coming out of the economic development office include a new website, an ongoing inventory of businesses and business-suited lands or spaces for sale or lease, the Castlegar Explorers App, and numerous marketing initiatives.

Since launched about a month ago, it has seen over 700 visitors exploring the site. The site is targeted at anyone considering starting a business in the Castlegar area, or thinking about moving here.

The site has a number of helpful tools such as an inventory of commercial spaces available for sale, rent or lease in the area, a wealth of facts and statistics about the region, a list of business development resources including workshops, and an analysis of gaps in local economic developments.

RELATED: Economic development web site launched for Castlegar

Another initiative coming out of the economic development office has been a campaign to attract microbreweries to the area. The plan included advertising and a mailer sent to microbreweries across the province.

Business retention and expansion is also a big part of the job — supporting businesses whenever possible and connecting them to the right people to help meet their needs and accomplish their goals.

Laver says about 80 per cent of business investments are from a local source.

The economic development office is currently managing about 50 active business inquiries.

Examples of some of the business leads include tech companies interested in building data pods, a financial service provider, a software company, a small package delivery company, a power sports business and a forestry trucking company.

“I am happy that this council around the table along with Areas I and J and the CBT to make this happen,” said councillor Florio Vassilikakis.

“It is exciting … people are interested in coming to Castlegar. I get the feeling there has been a change in the positivity of the business people in Castlegar. It has to do with a lot of things, but certainly the economic development office and your [Laver’s] position give people the confidence that city council and the Chamber of Commerce are supporting business owners and economic development.”

RELATED: New and expanding businesses abound around Castlegar

Just Posted

Premier Horgan talks jobs and opportunity at Castlegar mill

Upbeat visit brings message of hope and co-operation among Kootenay forestry players

Shoreacres crash injuries two drivers seriously

Crash blocks Highway 3A for nearly two hours at suppertime

City of Castlegar cutting back on herbicide use

No more herbicides for playgrounds and green spaces.

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

Castlegar restaurant passes generous tip on to food bank

The owner of The Nineteenth restaurant decided the best place for a tip that big was those in need

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Boating incident claims life on East Kootenay lake

A young man has died after a canoe overturned in Moyie Lake early Tuesday morning

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read