Castlegar’s future from an economic development perspective

Economic development manager Mark Laver forecasts retail growth in 2019

The Castlegar News asked community leaders to share what they see in store for Castlegar in 2019. Here is what Castlegar economic development manager Mark Laver had to say.

Castlegar News: What are the major economic development issues facing Castlegar in 2019?

Laver: Growth. Assuming a stable global, provincial and local economy, Castlegar and area may experience growth issues. Concerted efforts in the past few years have seen a number of new businesses locate in the region. The inventory of available space across commercial and industrial land is shrinking. Attention needs to be paid as to how growth is to be managed, encouraged, and planned.

Attention also needs to be paid to how the region positions itself as technology plays an increasing role in our lives. There are a number of businesses in the area doing exciting work in the field of technology, building and encouraging a workforce to take advantage of these innovations will be crucial beyond 2019. Economic development has a number of technology-related initiatives in the planning stages for the year ahead.

The airport continues to work toward solutions for our unique weather conditions. This will not be a quick fix, but the effort is being made to find a solution that works.

With growth comes a need for housing. Not just single-family homes, but smaller apartments, condominiums and seniors’ housing too. The cost of a single-family home continues to increase, and rental vacancy rates are low throughout much of the West Kootenay. The economic development office has already reached out to developers from B.C.’s Interior and will look further afield for businesses to fill these needs going forward.

CN: From an economic development perspective, how has the community become better in the last year? What opportunities and challenges does it still face in the new year?

Laver: This has been the first full year of an economic development role for the area since 1992. We believe that we are starting to gain some traction in that the area has many advantages for businesses to locate here and for families to move here. Under the stewardship of the chamber of commerce, Economic Development and Destination Marketing are working together to promote our area. The area is full of economic opportunity. With increased technology solutions and the nature of work, it is no longer necessary for people to live in high-cost locations just to work. Many people in the West Kootenay are employed in the forestry industry. The economic development office has plans to highlight this economic strength in the coming year to potentially attract businesses that are complementary to this industry.

CN: Where are we likely to see economic growth and development for Castlegar in 2019?

Laver: The majority of economic growth will come from the retail sector, across a wide variety of businesses.

CN: More generally, what do you think is in store for Castlegar for 2019?

Laver: More positive exposure for the area. This is a fantastic place to live, raise a family, be a part of a community and work/own a business. Economic Development has a number of exciting new initiatives in 2019. To begin, we are going to be working with a few schools to increase the exposure of technology to students. We are also planning to host a conference, and conduct a number of economic analyses that will set up the area for growth in the years to come.

Just Posted

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Updated: Outbreak prompts advisory for visitors to extended care wing in Trail hospital

A respiratory infection has been active in Poplar Ridge Pavilion since Monday, advises IH

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

PLACE NAMES: East Arrow Park, Pend d’Oreille, and Bay Farm, revisited

The Redlands Trading Association store at East Arrow Park was named for a place in California

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read