The rural communities of Slocan and North Kootenay lake host a vibrant mix of Sinixt and other Indigenous peoples, multi-generational settler families, Doukhobors, Japanese Canadians, resource industry workers, sixties back-to-the-landers, avid recreationists, artists, young families and more. We love the beauty, the access to nature and the interconnectedness of our village communities. Ensuring our schools, hospitals, local businesses, and other key services endure are real concerns. We have a strong sense of community and love the peace and quiet of this place.
“flexible and gradual change” is almost always preferable to “cataclysmic,” broad-stroke redevelopment.~ Jane Jacobs, 1961
There have been many conversations in this region about community and economic development. Several studies show that people here value the clean air and water, and the beauty and peacefulness of this place. Some are concerned there is not enough economic development and residents have been invited to share their ideas. High-speed internet is an important factor in allowing new full-time residents and businesses to establish. Sustainable forestry and value added wood product manufacturing is another opportunity. Agricultural development and food security are coming to the forefront, with discussions and initiatives well underway. While tourism is one aspect of our economy now, not a single community survey or process has identified this as a strong desired focus.
Developing one major ‘savior’ tourist attraction has never been seen as a good idea for healthy community development. Having a mega-resort descend on a small town does not improve the quality of life for the people who already live there. It causes real estate prices and property taxes to soar, makes scarce housing even scarcer, and creates major class divisions between a few wealthy people and the workers needed to provide services to them. (see Resort-induced Changes in Small Mountain Communities in British Columbia, Canada) Right-sized and appropriate development is necessary within the context of sustainability and climate change imperatives. Visionary planner Jane Jacobs has pointed out, “flexible and gradual change” is almost always preferable to “cataclysmic,” broad-stroke redevelopment.