Our Community


The West Kootenays is a proud and friendly community of small towns and rural settlements nestled in picturesque valleys.

Our largest “metropolis” is Castlegar, which boasts a population of 7,800. Castlegar is home to Selkirk College, the Columbia Basin Trust and our regional airport. It is situated at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers, and is a gateway to the whole Kootenay-Columbia region for travelers arriving from the west.

Castlegar, BC (Source: HelloBC.com)

Another major centre is the city of Trail, which is home to Teck Trail Operations, one of the world’s largest zinc producers and the region’s largest employer.

“The Mighty Columbia River”, TRAIL, BC  (Source: Columbia Basin Trust)


Rossland, New Denver, and Nakusp are some of our other notable centres, however, even some of our smallest communities have played a huge role in our history and who we are today. Our region is speckled with communities that were formerly mining camps, railway sidings, Doukhobor settlements, and paddlewheeler ports that laid the foundation for our modern communities and businesses.

Paddlewheelers on Slocan Lake, C. 1900 (Source: Columbia Basin Trust)

Our region attracts many do-it-yourselfers and adventurers who enjoy both working and playing in the outdoors. We are grateful for the abundance that we receive from our lakes, rivers, land and forests, both recreationally and economically.

A notable feature of our lakes and rivers is the network of hydroelectric dams, which as part of the Columbia River Treaty provides flood control and 44% of the total electricity produced in BC.

When newcomers are asked why they have chosen to make the West Kootenays their home, they invariably answer “For the lifestyle”, as we are glad to avoid the stress and bustle of urban life, and our scenery is second to none. With hot, holiday-like summers and snowy wonderland winters, we have the best of both worlds. Truly, many who come to visit find themselves staying for a lifetime.

Kootenay West Constituency

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