The primary economic drivers in BC’s Lower Columbia are metallurgy and health care, followed seasonally by tourism.
Metallurgical activities currently taking place include:
- Smelting and refining lead and zinc;
- Producing gold, silver and a vast array of other metals; and
- Recycling the zinc, lead and lithium found in dead batteries.
Directly related to these activities are two stations in the region, on the Pend O’Orielle and Columbia Rivers, that generate hydroelectric power. The region also has a robust transportation infrastructure because of all the metallurgical activity.
Health care in the Kootenays centers on the presence of a major public hospital, The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, which serves over 80,000 people.
Tourism contributes to the economy of this part of the Lower Columbia Region primarily on a seasonal and special event basis. The region is known for successfully hosting sport and athletic events of all sorts. It is also known for historic RED Mountain in Rossland, BC – the oldest ski resort in Western Canada.
Other tourism drivers include:
Tremendous skiing and snowboarding;
Good mountain biking;
Great fishing –– the Columbia River offers some of the best fly-fishing for rainbow trout;
Many natural attractions; and
All the factors that make the area appealing to visitors help attract and retain residents as well. For this reason, we would argue that the quality of life is in itself an economic driver. BC’s Lower Columbia is ideal place to live, work, play and to invest.