Invest in Castlegar

OUR VISION - to be the commercial service centre for the West Kootenay.

OUR GOAL - to raise the visibility of the West Kootenay and Castlegar as an advantageous lifestyle and business choice.

OUR BELIEF - the West Kootenay is underserviced. Centralized infrastructure generates economy of scale and accessibility to a population critical mass that would otherwise not be feasible in more dispersed form - thereby accelerating local and regional economic development, prosperity, and quality of life improvement.

Centre of Attention

Castlegar’s location squarely in the middle of Vancouver and Calgary has produced today’s investment opportunity, and its competitive advantage.

The West Kootenay has a distinct cultural flavour, and warmth and openness of humanity that will bring a quick smile to your face…and a lingering feeling of contentment. Lifestyle is not urban rush, but relaxed mix of outdoor rugged and urban cool.

There is a creative undertow to the human tide. Business is important, but the lifestyle dog still wags the business tail.

The West Kootenay is the last heavily invested valley between Vancouver and Calgary, and that brings with it a business and cost of living affordability that entertains the notion that entrepreneurs can both balance the books and balance life.

Castlegar’s economic base is stable and diversified (forestry, mining, hydro, government services, retail, tourism). Business conditions are dynamic and affordable. The City is big enough to support full services. But Castlegar knows it can do more and its commercial service centre vision is ambitious. Diversification has two key thrusts: commercial anchors (we affectionately call this the ‘Big Kahuna Strategy’), and independent entrepreneurs (we affectionately call this the ‘Dilbert’ strategy).

Castlegar’s competitive advantage lies in its central location, low business costs/cost of living, and cultured outdoor lifestyle:

West Kootenay Central

Castlegar’s primary competitive advantage lies in its central West Kootenay location, 32 km south of Nelson and 40 km north of Trail. Enterprise services Castlegar’s population (2010) of 13,428, a commercial trade area of 60,000, and an Interior Health service area of 82,000. 70% of West Kootenay population is closer to Castlegar than other communities of size in Region.

As a measure of the dynamism of the Castlegar economy:

  • Castlegar’s 7% population growth from 2005 to 2010 led other communities in the West Kootenay (Nelson – 5%, Trail – 0%).
  • Building permit values doubled from 2009 to $26 million in 2010 (260% above 10 year average).

Castlegar is undertaking a number of initiatives to solidify its role as a regional service centre for the West Kootenay.

Low Business Costs/Cost of Living


  • Lower than provincial average labour costs
  • For small business owners, British Columbia’s general corporate tax rate has been cut by more than a third since 2001. B.C. has no general corporation capital tax, no employer payroll taxes, no franchise tax and no machinery sales tax
  • On a square foot basis, Castlegar’s industrial property taxes are roughly 3% below the City of Calgary and 17% below the City of Vancouver. Commercial property taxes are substantially lower than Calgary and Vancouver.
  • Canadians pay average electricity prices that are lower (in many cases substantially lower) than most other industrialized countries in the world. B.C. rates are lower than the Canadian average of 10.78 cents/kWh in 2010.
  • Average re-sale house price is 46% lower than the B.C. average, while median household income is only 5.8% below the B.C. average.
  • Municipal property taxes for a single family home are roughly 40% lower than the City of Vancouver average of roughly $3200 and 13% lower than a Calgary Region average of roughly $2200.
  • B.C. individuals earning up to $119,000 pay the lowest provincial income tax in Canada. For the majority of taxpayers, provincial personal income taxes have been reduced by at least 37 per cent since 2001.
Happily Ever After – More Than Castlegar’s Tagline…a Statement About Living Better Not Just More

Beyond the hard truths that determine whether a venture will be viable lies a soft squishy middle we call ‘life.’ If you’re purely driven by generating treasure chests of gold from business, Castlegar might not be for you. Castlegar has a deeper soul that feels good, and feels right to people to want to live better not just more. You don’t have to be driven by 20 hour work days to pay the freight for the big house in the burbs and the fancy commuter car…it’s more affordable to live here, we’re a little less auspicious, and vehicles aren’t a status symbol.

We are a people place that happens to have some steep rocks around us to roll around in…to explore in…to be free in…to pursue a long list of recreational passions. Feel happier, live better to live longer, enjoy life in the moment.