Are resort towns in crisis?
That’s a front cover headline and a question asked by one of Canada’s major outdoor magazines — and a story worth reading for anyone who calls places like Nelson, Kaslo or New Denver home.
Written by veteran national magazine scribe Steve Threndyle, the Explore magazine feature notes that with cost-of-living outpacing incomes in resort and recreation towns around the nation, and influxes of urbanites displacing longtime residents, it’s getting more and more challenging for locals to adapt. The title of the story – with a nod to one of The Tragically Hip’s early tracks – is “Resort Town Bringdown.”
The West Kootenay garnered a little extra press in the latest Explore edition. A front-of-magazine section called “The Low Down” introduces readers to Kaslo, and “the people who make this mountain mecca so marvellous.”
Looking beyond the hurdles facing holiday hot spots now facing unprecedented urbanite immigration, a story in the New York Times looks at some solutions. The story, titled “Can Affluence and Affordable Housing Coexist in Colorado’s Rockies?” observes the fact that “the outdoorsy lifestyle of Colorado mountain towns in Summit County — home to Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin resorts — has become a magnet for the new remote-worker class, upending life for those already rooted there.”
The piece looks at local and state government strategies being implemented to address the issue, including private property deed restrictions — in which the local government pays home and condo owners not to list their places for Airbnb stays — as well as limitations on any potential renter or buyer to those in the Summit Country workforce, and limitations on any potential re-sale price.
Four-legged friends and owners alike are bidding so long to Central Bark, after nearly 20 years in business. Mike and Stacey Finley, owners since 2009, and long-time manager Tara McAfee, closed up shop last week.
Asked how many critters the shop has helped, Mike jokes: “I don’t wanna sound like McDonalds, but probably over six billion.”
“Tara was a lot of people’s first stop if anyone had an issue with their pet,” he adds. “They’d come here first before the vet. So it’s going to be a little sad for owners and their pets.”
True story — it wasn’t uncommon for some dogs familiar with the place their treats and toys came from to literally show up at Central Park’s front door, all by their lonesomes.
“Oh yeah,” Mike says, “at least two a month.”
The space has been spoken for. There’ll be a new tenant moving in in the next few weeks.
They’re everywhere. And now you can be too.
If you’re looking to try an e-bike out, or take a high-paced pedal around some of the city’s 300-plus-kilometres of single track, they’re all charged up and ready to roll at Nelson’s new e-bike rental shop. Electric Larry Land has opened up in the basement garage of the Baldface building at 324 Vernon St.
Three-time Canadian downhill champ and freeride mountain bike pioneer Chris Lawrence launched the shop last week, offering Orbea-brand bikes, either all-mountain or light-trail/rail grade models, with a helmet and optional glove/knee pad/elbow pad set ups. You can sign up online at electriclarryland.ca or drop the guy they call Larry a line at 613-875-8488.
Speaking of single track and the like, one of B.C.’s most legendary mountain bike festivals is making a comeback.
Nelson’s very own Fat Tire Fest is running again, Sept. 15 to 17 at Morning Mountain. The family friendly event started back in the 90s in honour of avid local cyclist Cam Alexander, who lost his life while riding his bike 27 years ago. Visit nelsonfattire.com for more details.
Couple of quick notes on the imbibe-ables front. Relish restaurant is changing hands. Amanda’s is getting closer to moving into its new downtown Nelson location. Local cannabis company Woody Nelson is having great success with its latest strain, Rainbow Driver. We’ll have more next column.
From high to hires. Employees are getting their heads and bottom lines around B.C.’s minimum wage increase, which went from $15.65 to $16.75 an hour at the start of the summer. The province says the 6.9 per cent increase reflects B.C.’s average annual inflation rate in 2022. The B.C. Chamber of Commerce didn’t much like the news, noting that job providers only had two-and-a-half months to prepare from the day the decision was made in Victoria.
Speaking of Chamber chatter, here are some of the findings from the B.C. Chamber’s collective perspective survey.
Eighty-seven per cent of B.C. business owners feel the costs of doing business have become worse in the last year. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents identified the ability to recruit and retain talent as the most important factor for the success of their business. And 63 per cent of respondents view the prospects for their business as “good” or “very good” in the next three to five years.
That’s the stats. We’ll see you in September.