Recovering coal prices and an increased demand for lumber from the US helped the East Kootenay weather a challenging 2016.
This according to annual economic report just released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.The evaluation says our region is very sensistive to global commodity prices, so improving conditions for key resources was a welcome relief.
In particular – the sharp rebound in steelmaking coal prices reportedly had a positive effect in the East Kootenay.
U.S. demand for softwood lumber increased production in the Southern Interior by 3.5%.However, the report wasn’t all good news.
It says the Kootenays as a whole lost 1,600 in 2016 pushing employment levels to their lowest in over a decade.
Initial indications do suggest 2017 will be a better year for our region with Teck predicting coal production close to 2016 volumes and a new $370 million open pit coal mile beginning construction near Sparwood.
– Josh Hoffman