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

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

Castlegar’s economy growing

Economic development manager says new businesses are popping up everywhere.

Castlegar’s economic development manager told city council last week that things are looking good for the local economy.

Mark Laver gave an update that paints a picture of business growth in the area.

More evidence of growth was contained in this month’s business license report which shows there are 681 businesses operating in town — 21 more than at the same period last year.

“These are certainly exciting times,” said Laver. “There are new businesses popping up absolutely everywhere.”

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In fact, there are so many new businesses that Laver had to cancel the annual Storefront of Opportunities event which showcases empty business spaces around town, due to a lack of empty buildings.

Laver said there are numerous reasons that business is booming including upgraded infrastructure projects, a strong business community, lower cost of living and retail space and population growth.

According to Laver, the Castlegar market has been under-served for some time.

“When people see that it is an under-served market, it presents opportunity,” he said.

The economic development office has plans to court housing developers and entertainment businesses in the coming year.

The office’s East/West Kootenay train feasibility study is also moving forward with a consultant selected and data collection and interviews beginning in the next month.