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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar council develops policy for question period

Questions must pertain to current agenda items and issues or items of interest to the general public

SD20 board welcomes new trustee as budget process begins

New funding funneled to Castlegar bus route, band instrument replacement and library IT equipment.

Missing Slocan City man found dead

Douglas Morrison went missing in mid-January

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

COLUMN: Screening will help take Sinixt people (and their drum) to Ottawa

‘Older Than The Crown’ plays Thursday at the Capitol Theatre

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Pipeline talks got B.C. railway open, can work again: Horgan

Premier says protest excesses damage Wet’suwet’en case

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Most Read