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Local economy lags behind region, province

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

The regional economy will be required to carry the local one in Nelson, City council told representatives of the Bank of Canada at a recent meeting in the Heritage City.

Bank officials were in the city discussing the state of the nation’s economy, the provincial landscape, and how it related to the financial picture in Nelson.

The economy of the province will be very strong — coal, oil, gas, wood, metals — over the next 50 years, Mayor John Dooley said they were told. The big challenge the province is facing is attracting a labour force, he said.

But in Nelson business traffic is allegedly down 30 per cent from the past few years, with few signs of an immediate turn around.

“It is definitely challenging right now,” Mayor Dooley said of the city’s economic outlook. “If you look at it that way, yeah, it’s not easy right now.”

Instead, Mayor Dooley looked towards the regional economy — expansion at Teck in Trail, a huge expansion at co-generation plant at Celgar outside Castlegar, $1 billion to be spent on expansion at the Waneta Dam south of Trail, sawmills “picking up steam” — for some respite and hope.

“I would have to say it could be a lot worse (in Nelson) if we didn’t have that strength in the regional industrial sector that is coming forward at this point in time,” he said.

City manager Kevin Cormack echoed Mayor Dooley’s sentiments.

“(Council) commented that it is tough sledding for a lot of the small business owners and contractors, so our specific Nelson economy is still struggling,” he said.

“However, there is hope that the regional economy will pick up and that is good for us.”

editor@thenelsondaily.com