Hi! I am Lisa Debolt and I moved here about a year ago from the Okanagan. After a few weeks of job searching I was lucky enough to find a position here at Pinnacle PAC, as the Director of First Impressions.
Ironically I wasn’t sure what to make of my first impression of Castlegar. I wasn’t sure what the ‘culture’ was so to speak. Nelson, Rossland and Trail each have their own unique personalities that are immediately observable when you spend even a few moments there.
My husband and I decided to relocate to Castlegar last summer as the result of a job opportunity. Neither of us had spent much time in the West Kootenays, but we came for a weekend visit to scope it out and then flipped a coin, the way we always like to make life changing decisions and here we are.
After settling into our house, a purchase determined by the fact it met our primary requirement of being empty and ready to move into, I started exploring my new town. As I drove down Columbia Avenue I felt some coin tossing remorse. Had we decided too quickly? What would our life be like here?
At first glance there wasn’t much, I thought would I be bored here. What would I do? Where does everyone else live? How would I meet anyone? I kept thinking back to all the rumors I had heard about Castlegar. “The golf courses don’t open until July, it smells like the mill, you can never leave during the winter, the planes won’t land and the mountain passes close.”
I anticipated feeling lonely and trapped, but we were committed to our choice and to make the best of it.
After putting in a little effort, it turns out, for us anyways; it is a town that has a little something for everyone. . After almost a year here we’ve been blown away with the friendliness of the community. I have had countless encounters of everyone from strangers to neighbors doing the nicest things for us. From the mysterious snowplow that often clears our driveway before we get home after a long day, to concerned coworkers calling to check up on our sick dog over the Christmas holidays, and neighbors offering advice, a helping hand and tools for miscellaneous home and garden projects.
We’ve been amazed at the ease with which we’ve made friends. Lifelong friends, who enjoy the outdoors, fun and exploring as much as we do. We have taken in more than our fair share of world class skiing, golfing, food, camping, hiking and art. We even learned to snowshoe! These things are only the beginning of fun activities here. Our move has been a benefit to our health, lifestyle, and stress level. This town’s success is a result of the unique culture of warmth, hard work and acceptance. The community has made us feel more at home here after 6 months then we did after 6 years in Vernon.
If you are worried about the flights in and out (yes sometimes they are cancelled, but we’re working on it), the mill smell (only once in a while during maintenance time), or the lack of things to do then maybe you are right, maybe it’s not the place for you. But if you are looking for a place to build a life in a positive, accepting community, then Castlegar just might be the place for you!
If you are the type of person that likes to be part of your community, enjoys seeing friendly faces every day, and wants to get back what you put in, then flip a coin, pack your things, don’t forget your hiking boots and get out here. You might just find exactly what you are looking for.
Written by: Lisa Debolt