Residents and visitors will attest that the West Kootenay area has its own distinct culture. The lifestyle here is an unconventional mix of the rugged outdoors and a laid-back urban cool—with a strong undercurrent of creativity, entrepreneurialism, and true grit. The area is rich in history, and just as rich in opportunity.
Castlegar is located squarely between Vancouver and Calgary. The backdrop is one of majestic mountain landscapes, endless trees, and powerful rivers. The community is well established, with a stable and diversified economic base and an affordable cost of living. With a population of more than 8,000, this city is the regional trade and transportation hub for West Kootenay. North-east of Castlegar, following the Kootenay River on the road to Nelson, is the area known as Electoral Area I. More than 2,500 people call this compact area home, and thousands more visit the region year-round. The communities of Area I are nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee mountains. From the south-east and running north-west from the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers and along Lower Arrow Lake, is Electoral Area J. Area J serves nearly 3,200 people in the rural communities that border Castlegar and into the interior.
This region is a playground for boaters, campers, hikers, and people who want to get away from it all. Settlers to the area brought with them an entrepreneurial spirit that persists today. Forestry and primary industries are still a big part of the mix, but we have also seen growth in agricultural enterprises such as hobby farms, orchards, and equestrian centres; outdoor activity and recreation
enterprises; and home-based businesses that serve local markets and beyond.
Tourism is a big part of what makes this region so dynamic. The area may seem remote, but we are connected to the world via regional and international airports. With a multitude of tourist attractions on our doorstep—including festivals and fairs, farm-to-table dining experiences, the winter wonderlands of Red Mountain and Whitewater, the natural sanctuaries of our provincial
parks, and the charming hospitality of our neighbourhoods and villages—visitors can choose their own adventure.
Business conditions here are vibrant and promising, and we are investing even more in economic development. Through government programs and innovative partnerships, we are working to strengthen supports for local businesses, stimulate continued economic growth, and protect our natural and cultural heritage for future generations. Our first rate broadband connections mean
unparalleled connectivity within the region and to the world. We are committed to attracting and supporting businesses that add to the unique communities
we serve. We invite you to explore the region and experience our unparalleled quality of life.