Our Communities



The City of Nelson is situated at the junction of provincial Highway 3A and Highway 6 on the shores of Kootenay Lake, one of the largest and most beautiful  lakes in BC. Though the economy was at one time based on forestry and mining, this is less and less true. Tourism, recreation, hospitality and retail sales now also play major roles.  Nelson has also emerged as the provincial administrative center for the Kootenays.

The city is known as a “hotbed“ for entrepreneurs and knowledge workers as well as for local and organic food and product producers (and consumers). Perhaps as a result of all this activity, Nelson also has a cost of living, and housing, higher than any other community in the region. This is a challenge is met by job seekers, employers and residents alike—all of whom appreciate its thriving arts and culture scene and its world class recreational opportunities.

  • Population (2014 est.):
    10,532 – 16,704 (including RDCK Areas E & F)
  • Age Demographic Profile:
Children (0-14 years):1620.
Emerging Labour Force (15-24 years): 1245.
Primary Labour Force (25-64): 5790.
Seniors (65+): 1575
  • Labour Force:
Labour Force participation rate: 59.3% (Kootenay Region) Average Income: $37,541/year (88.4 % of BC Average) Source: CRA 2014
  • Primary Industry:
Social and Gov’t Services
Tourism and Hospitality
Retail Sales
Financial Services

    Emerging Tech and Knowledge sector
  • Major Employers:
    Interior Health Authority (regional)
FortisBC (regional employer)
BCGEU (regional employer)
Golden Life (regional employer)
    Whitewater Ski Resort
Selkirk College (regional)
City of Nelson
Hume Hotel/Best Western
Canada Safeway

    Kootenay Country Food Co-Op
Maglio Building Centre
YRB (Yellowhead Road and Bridge)
    Nelson and District Credit



The Village of Kaslo, with a population of about 1,000, is the largest community on the main body of Kootenay Lake. Looking east across the lake, residents enjoy breathtaking views of the Purcell Mountains and the iconic Mt. Loki.  Like with most of the West Kootenays, mining and forestry used to provide most of the jobs in Kaslo—and that situation is changing.

The village is home to people with a wide variety of skills and talents, many of whom are there to be close to nature and away from the buzz of cities. Kaslo is a haven for arts and recreation, and is committed to developing jobs in the tech and knowledge sector.

  • Population (2014 est.):
    1,008 – 2,597 (including RD Area D)
  • Major Employers:
    Interior Health Authority
Kaslo Building Supplies
Kaslo Hotel and Pub
    Kaslo Motel
    Kaslo Shipyard
    Retallack Lodge
    Kaslo Golf Club
    Honey Candles Ltd
    Jones Boys Boats
    Selkirk Wilderness Skiing
    Stellar Skiing
    Kootenay Savings Credit Union
    Front St Pizza
    Kaslo Community Pharmacy
    Ainsworth Hotsprings



The Village of Salmo is another small community served by KCDS. Situated in the  beautiful Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, Salmo is an equal 30-minute drive from Nelson, Castlegar, and Trail. This makes for an easy commute to regional employment options. Salmo’s roots are in mining and forestry, but, like the whole region, the community is evolving and trying to diversify into other areas.

Home to a community ski hill, a golf course and the annual Shambhala Music Festival, the village has something for everyone—year-round.  Their Official Community Plan outlines three major economic development objectives: encouraging industries of a non-polluting nature to locate there, promoting the advantages of Salmo’s location, and encouraging multi-level educational opportunities.

  • Population (2014 est.):
    1187 – 2,612 (including RDCK Area G)
  • Major Employers:
    Interior Health Authority

Porcupine Wood Products Ltd
Kootenay Savings Credit Union
Shop Easy
Salmo Foods



The Village of Slocan is in the Slocan Valley, beneath the big peaks of Valhalla Provincial Park, where Slocan Lake turns into Slocan River. With the closing of the Springer Creek Forest Products sawmill, the Village of Slocan and area lost around 175 well-paying jobs. As is often the case in communities where the primary employer shuts down, the people of the area have had to reinvent themselves and diversify. This makes for a dynamic environment, full of potential.

Though forestry stills provides many jobs for the village and area residents, eco-tourism, growing and selling local food, and work in technology are all contributing to the village’s evolution. New housing starts, population and business development are on the rise—all indicators of positive growth.

  • Population (2014 est.):
    301 – 5275 (including RDCK Area H)
  • Major Employers:
    Interior Health Authority
YRB (Yellowhead Road and Bridge)
Sockeye Enterprises
Slocan Village Market

    Harold St Café
Flaca’s Bistro
Mountain Valley Station
Village of Slocan

    Ice Creek Lodge
Weir Dough’s Woodfire Bakery
MamaSita’s Cafe
Sleep Is For Sissies

Community Resources

The FETCH site provides information about programs and resources located in, or serving, communities in the Kootenay Boundary Region.