After a century as a mining town, yet another city in the Interior of B.C. is converting to tourism – and aiming to attract Albertans.
Tourism is big business in Kimberley, says Larry Haber, the city’s economic development director.
The Sullivan Mine closed a little over a year ago, but the city’s population has actually grown since then. At 7,000, it’s one of the larger communities in the East Kootenays – larger than Invermere and Golden.
Kimberley’s economy has been in transition for years, moving away from natural resources towards tourism, says Louise Willerton, marketing co-ordinator for the new Northstar Mountain Village resort at Kimberley.
|After a century as a mining town, yet another city in the Interior of B.C. is converting to tourism – and aiming to attract Albertans. |
She compares Kimberley to Telluride, Colo., 15 years ago, with comparatively low prices and just starting its upswing.
At Kimberley, the airport is only 20 minutes from the ski hill, unlike many resorts.
Northstar Mountain Village is a ski-in, ski-out condominium project, located on the ridge overlooking the ski hill.
It’s a four-hour drive from Calgary, but once residents arrive they don’t have to move their vehicles again, she says. There are restaurants and amenities on the ski hill, but Kimberley is only three minutes away for people who want to go into town. The city itself has interesting shops and good restaurants, she adds.
The area has 26 kilometres of Nordic ski trails and there are plenty of places to go snowmobiling, another popular activity in the area.
Units at Northstar Mountain Village aren’t timeshares, but fully deeded at the land titles office and sold in fractional units of a quarter share.
The fractional owners can sell or bequeath their property as they wish, says Willerton.
Owners don’t have to give up the option of vacationing elsewhere. They can deposit some of their weeks of use with Interval International to obtain stays at any of 1,900 resorts around the world.
The village will eventually contain 90 units. Three sixplexes are sold and completed, one is under construction and partly sold, and work is to start on three more sixplexes in the spring.
Quarter-units are priced from $79,900 (a discount price for purchasers of four quarters) to $119,900 and unit sizes range from 1,001 sq. ft. to 1,934 sq. ft. Stainless steel appliances and marble countertops are standard. Units also boast barbeques and hot tubs, and the resort will include a private club with a great room, heated outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness centre.
Kimberley is an outdoor lover’s mecca, with four golf courses within 15 minutes of Northstar Mountain Village. There are also opportunities for hiking, biking and rafting.
Haber points out that Kimberley boasts two 18-hole golf courses and a 27-hole course. Trickle Creek was opened 10 years ago and last July, Bootleg Gap, a 27-holer with green fees set at $45.
There is also a Marriott hotel at the base of the ski hill, and a large housing subdivision on the other side of the golf courses will eventually include 2,200 units.
The city derives some of its economic stability from its proximity to Cranbrook, just a half-hour away.
“A lot of people from Calgary are buying real estate here,” says Haber.
Kimberley’s real estate sector has a price for every level in the market, with some homes as low as $46,000 and others as high as $675,000. Other examples include houses for $150,000 to $250,000, condos in the same range and high-end homes, he says.
A mountain resort just over two hours west of Calgary has announced construction of its first ski-in, ski-out lodge.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort says Vagabond Lodge will be a pension-style facility of up to 10,000 sq. ft. with 10 rental suites, each with private bath. Amenities will include a dining room, library and games room, lounge area with fireplace,and an outdoor hot tub.
Construction is to start this spring. The lodge facility will cater to skiers and snowboarders in the winter and golfers and outdoor enthusiasts the rest of the year.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will be completed in 2010, totalling 3,000 bed units – a mix of townhouses, single-family residences,condominiums, hotels and B&Bs. Amenities will include shops, bars, restaurants and a variety of recreational opportunities.
Morguard REIT has agreed to buy 11 properties from Remington Properties Inc. of Calgary.
The portfolio is 27 buildings in Calgary and Edmonton, totalling 900,000 sq. ft. of leasable space, all occupied with staggered lease maturities. The deal is to close at the end of March, with a price tag of $108 million.
Morguard REIT said that with this transaction, it will have spent $248 million on acquisitions since last July. David Weinkauf, vice-president of marketing at Remington, said the properties included Heritage Towne Centre and Portland Street Depot Phase 2.
Remington’s joint venture with the city has been approved for Westwinds, east of 36th Street and north of 54th Avenue N.E. It also has lands to develop in the south central area, near Portland Street as well as the old Fastfrate site in Ramsay.