Positive Economic Trends in Kimberley
Sunny outlook has little to do with SunMine, everything to do with market confidence
(KIMBERLEY, BC) With the past six months of national and global economic news you’d have been forgiven looking into the future with apprehension.
But things are playing out differently this Summer in Kimberley.
Tourism is bustling. According to City Economic Development Officer Kevin Wilson “With the exchange rate at its lowest levels in 13 years, our region is enjoying the duel benefit of more visits from Americans as well as increased visitation from neighbors in Alberta who are staying closer to home.” The publicity from the opening of SunMine, BC’s largest solar facility has created additional buzz about Kimberley.
Kimberley accommodators report 10% year over year growth in occupancy with sold out weekends since the beginning of June and weeknight sellouts since JulyFest. A sell out equates to about 500 accommodation units with an average of 2.5 guests spending an average of $125 per day on food, entertainment, shopping, and accommodation or about $150,000 per day.
In retail as well you can see visible signs of a positive investment climate. Two new storefronts in Marysville and two new coffee shops in the permitting process, as well as seven new businesses downtown illustrate the positive outlook of many entrepreneurs.
Construction activity continues at a pace not seen since 2010. Up to the end of July 2015 there were 16 new single family building starts, compared to 7 at the same point last year. With $4.8M in building permits up to the end of June, the brisk pace in Kimberley is outstripping all other communities in the East Kootenay region, the next closest is Fernie at $4.5M.
According to Mayor Don McCormick, “We are having a great 2015. Construction is up and our events scene has seen a resurgence this year, with the continued success of events like Round the Mountain, and new events like Symphony on the Mountain, the Kimberley Medieval Festival, and the Diamond Rio Concert.”
According the Mayor there is much more to come. “Get ready for the Black Spur Ultramarathon August 22-23 when 300 highly motivated competitors will descend on our community. These folks tend to be high-achieving professionals and their presence will be noticed.”
Looking forward into the Fall, the Kimberley Conference Centre will host 300 delegates and spouses as part of the BC Community Futures Conference from September 23-25, and 250 delegates from the Church of God September 27 - October 5.