Across the Regional District of Central Kootenay, in Slocan City and New Denver, there was an unexpected consequence of the pandemic — more visitors arriving to their remote communities. 

The board chair of the RDCK, Aimee Watson, said their main goal was to pivot emergency services and outdoor recreation. They developed a park ambassador and water safety program for the increased visitation. In regional district was also awarded a 2020 Sustainable Community award for the Accelerate Kootenays project, seeing the increase in electric vehicle charging stations. 

In Slocan City, the local government took on big public projects. Not only was there more park space added to the beloved beachfront, the old mill site was purchased by the city. The community stepped up during the pandemic to provide home food deliveries for seniors and people in need. And in 2021, the city is looking forward to celebrating its 120th anniversary of inauguration.

New Denver’s Mayor Leonard Casley said his community’s staff were able to write an unprecedented amount of grant applications for funding. As well as a pandemic, New Denver’s headlines included a proposed year-round resort and a moth infestation. The area is also considering a boundary extension to help get nearby residents off a years-long water boil advisory. That and more is upcoming in the new year.