Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff (left) and Mayor Bruno Tassone served coffee at the Castlegar Giving Thanks Community Dinner in October. Photo: Betsy Kline

Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff: Castlegar a growing, smart and green city

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

Castlegar city councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff says it’s impossible to know what tomorrow will hold, but she has some predictions of what Castlegar may look like in the next decade.

I remember watching the Jetsons on TV when I was growing up. It was so futurist that I often thought “none of that will ever happen in my lifetime.”

Wow, was I wrong. Look how far technology has come in just the last 10 years or so.

Castlegar’s population will continue to grow — adding at least 2,500 to our overall population figures. As a result, Castlegar will become a “smart city” where individuals will harness the power of high speed internet in all aspects of our daily lives. 5G won’t be enough so the city owned fibre-optic network will come out of the dark and play a significant role in moving our community forward. Through partnerships we will see high-tech industry opening its doors.

Castlegar will be busting at its seams with businesses expanding and new ones coming in. We will have a wide assortment of businesses that employ our residents which drops the unemployment rate. There will be no need to leave the area or shop online for goods and services as Castlegar will be your one stop for everything you need.

Our streets will be filled with electric vehicles and e-bikes — which will push council to approve more walking and biking paths which fits into our green strategy. Our community will be well on its way to running on renewable energy to meet 2050 targets.

Castlegar will continue to see an increase in housing starts and much land will be dedicated for affordable housing and housing complexes — even micro-apartments could become a thing along with tiny house communities. We could even see more multi-generational living situations becoming a necessity for families to offset the growing cost of living.

The federal government has promised to increase infrastructure grants which will mean that the city will be constantly under construction as we receive much needed funds to upgrade Columbia Avenue (all phases will be completed) and other arterial streets and renew all pipes, etc. underground — making our infrastructure the envy of all communities. In addition, all three levels of government will free up much-needed funds for social programs that will be earmarked for seniors, families, homelessness, addictions, etc. Our community will embrace all groups within our region and help them to succeed.

The biggest change will be year-round reliability at our airport. We won’t be flying in spaceships like the Jetsons, but we will be able to take off in a Q400 or other planes from our airport in winter months without worrying about weather conditions. This will open up our region even more, and we will see an influx of tourists all over the world to explore our region’s hidden gems.

Of course in the next 10 years, there will be new councils being elected and priorities may change. But what I do know is that if we all work together, we can truly continue to make Castlegar “happily ever after” for everyone.

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