Well here we go folks, the last of our four-part 2021 business year in review.
Thanks for reading!
U — Up and coming… here’s some new businesses we’ll be writing about in columns to come.
Veteran community planner and sustainability manager Trish Dehnel is now ‘planner on call’. Dehnel Planning provides services, with an age-friendly and climate action lens, to local governments in the West Kootenay, Boundary and beyond. Find her at email@example.com.
Hockey players and figure skaters will be stoked to know Cole Thompson has started a new skate sharpening business called The Trainer’s Box. Thompson does pick-up and drop-off. Give him a holler at 250-777-8778, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Economic initiative (KORE) is planning a great event in Kimberley next month. Aiming to bolster and attract local gear builders, designers, creatives and outfitters in the outdoor recreation industry, KORE has nearly 50 brands on board now. The lineup is remarkable collectives of creatives and entrepreneurs. Have a look at ‘em, and learn more about the Kimberley vendors festival at koreoutdoors.org. The festival comes at a time when the city has been economically battered by the arson-related destruction of Kimberley resort’s main chair in December.
V — The Valley. And its voice. Valley Voice reporter John Boivin, a 22-year CBC veteran and now a writer with the legendary local paper, has covered the Slocan, Arrow Lake and Kaslo/North Kootenay Lake area like a blanket for the last two years, thanks to help from the Local Journalism Initiative. Here are some highlights from his 2021-in-review:
Drought, fires and shocking glacial melt led the headlines. Kokanee Glacier lost two metres of ice. The New Denver glacier melted a half-metre in depth. In an effort to prepare for worsening weather, the Regional District of Central Kootenay and food security groups are creating a food source inventory and reviewing water systems in the region. Forestry initiatives like the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative are working with local foresters to implement sweeping fire smart projects on local slopes. The Arrow Slocan Tourism region’s economically vital cat-, heli-skiing and backcountry winter sector bounced back to pre-pandemic booking levels this winter. Boivin also reports that small municipal governments throughout the northern part of the West Kootenay are flush with cash, thanks to provincial grants and programs, with many “up to their necks” in infrastructure improvement projects.
W — Whitewater. Talk about an essential service. Led by owners Andrew Kyle and Knee Deep Development, the beloved local mountain and economic pillar has forged its way through the pandemic’s uncharted seas with managerial deftness and a commitment to something more than the bottom line. GM Kirk Jensen, indoor operations manager Rebekah Horning, sales and marketing boss Peter Lonergan and all the crew have managed mandatory masks, social distancing, at times scattershot provincial health orders, unprecedented crowds of backcountry tourers, a near crippling labour shortage, dreadful avalanche conditions and a heartbreaking fatality.
And still, the lifts are running and the community’s cumulative mental and physical health is being buoyed for yet another winter. Quick Whitewater updates: the Backcountry Adventure Lodge project is under way, septic and water is in place; an RFP for a three-kilometre adaptive bike trail has been awarded to a local contractor, it’ll be constructed this summer, along with 10 RV sites out in the Nordic zone and 15 tent sites in the forest adjacent to the lodge; plans are in the works for a new quad chair to be installed in the summer of 2023 on the Silver King side; and, thank the rotary dial phone gods, and those who see the value of not FaceTiming every turn of untracked snow on the mountain to a global audience, there are no plans for any cell service any time soon.
X — As in ‘X’ marks the spot. Which is right here. Whether you’re a shopper, stakeholder or supplier, there’s never been a more important time to spend your dollars here in town, not online.
Here are six reasons: For every $100 spend with a local business, $63 is re-circulated back into our local economy. Local businesses re-circulate 4.6 times more revenue in the local economy than their chain competitors. Has Amazon ever helped your kid’s team or the local food bank? Local businesses contribute vital financial support and volunteer time to so many non-profits. Deal with pros you know, not a foreign website or out-of-town voicemail that’ll never return your call. Shop local and reduce your environmental impact with less packaging and transportation from overseas factories. Help protect the small businesses and mountain town cultural that make our hometowns one-of-a-kind. When you shop local you get something unique — something you won’t find anywhere else. It’s authentic. Just like the folks you’re buying from.
Y — You. Yup, you. We see ya there. Our communities and world are growing and changing at remarkable speed. Stay involved. Get involved. Support local. Volunteer. Share your opinions. And before you go rogue on your spouse, the dog, or your Facebook and Twitter feeds, do your best to get fully informed first, by perusing all sorts of local, provincial and national media, from the right and left, so you can get a true idea of what’s really happening out there. There’s usually a few sides to every issue and story. The truth is in there, in the middle somewhere. And drop The Buzz a line any time with business tips and any needs to promote your good work. email@example.com.
Z — Zincton. This is a development and adventure tourism tilt to watch closely. A veteran B.C. tourism industry journalist and broadcaster believes the all-season resort proposal, slated for the mountains between New Denver and Kaslo, has a number of things going for it when it’ll come time for the province to give it a yay or nay.
Speaking on Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Kootenay Morning current affairs show earlier this month, Ryan Stuart says Zincton’s small size is a plus.
Stuart notes that Zincton has a much smaller footprint than any other proposal up for consideration. It needs less cash, less rigorous analysis and because of that is moving through the approval very quickly.
He calls Zincton principal David Hartley a successful serial entrepreneur, but believes Hartley’s plan to open as early as 2023, is a bit optimistic.
Opponents are united and vehement. The Valhalla Wilderness Society, Sinixt, Blood of Life Collective and local recreationalists who want to see the area remain open to everyone are asking tough questions about Zincton’s environmental, social and economic impacts. Some say the proposal’s bid to be the Tesla of resort developments is a green-washed real estate play that’ll decimate grizzly populations and other wilderness values.
Zincton is currently waiting for the provincial government’s invitation to submit a master plan.
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly stated local business The Trainer’s Box was owned by Peter Payne. The business is actually owned by Cole Thompson. He can be reached at 250-777-8778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.