Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone                                The Castlegar News asked Mayor Bruno Tassone to offer his thoughts on what the new decade will bring for the community.

Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone The Castlegar News asked Mayor Bruno Tassone to offer his thoughts on what the new decade will bring for the community.

Castlegar’s Mayor Tassone: developing the airport lands key to growth

Here come the 2020s: Castlegar News asked local leaders to share their thoughts on the new decade

Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone says it’s hard to believe we’re moving into a new decade. He’s optimistic and hopeful about what the next 10 years hold for us.

The City of Castlegar is in a unique situation. We’ve focused our planning and worked very hard to ensure our municipal assets and infrastructure (water, sewer, roads), which belong to our citizens, are safe, secure and positioned for the long-term.

This is a legacy we’ve put in place for years and generations to come.

I know asset management isn’t the most exciting topic to some, but accomplishing this was no small feat and is something I am very proud of, because managing our critical assets and infrastructure properly is the foundation for our municipality.

With this in place, we can now focus on growing our community and delivering on some of the big ideas we heard from our citizens when we developed our Official Community Plan.

I’d like to share with you some of the biggest things I want to see Castlegar accomplish.

First, and foremost, I would like to see big things at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. We need improved year-round reliability — ideally as close to 100 per cent as possible. We will continue to work tirelessly to make this happen. Many factors are out of our control but we need real improvements so we can leave behind our reputation as “Cancelgar.”

Improved reliability would mean better air-based emergency services and could allow us to access expanded markets into the U.S. I want people landing here so we can showcase Castlegar as a desirable place to do business and experience our home — a place where community meets lifestyle. A place surrounded by mountains, water and endless opportunities to play.

We have huge development potential with the airport lands which are the largest, flat, develop-able serviced section of land in the West Kootenay. These lands can be developed to bring business, innovation and new jobs to the area.

I estimate we should be able to support businesses that will bring us 500 new jobs which would drive our local and regional economies and create an additional 500 to 1,000 spin-off jobs.

I would also like to see us be proactive with the changing demographics and healthcare circumstances in B.C. so that we could bring together non-emergency health care needs into one space.

And, wouldn’t it be great to enrich our culture and special community places by adding a new arts museum, ideally closer to where the people are, and improving our popular parks by adding things like new playground equipment, water parks, tennis courts and outdoor (artificial) ice rinks to support year-round fun?

I believe Castlegar is a place we all love to call home. When we look back in 10 years, I know we will be proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the 2020s.