Kimberley firing on all cylinders
Kimberley is bustling. Between events, the weekly farmer’s market, construction, new businesses, and tourism there is a tangible sense of energy and momentum in the community.
Thus far in 2016 there has been $9.7 M in new construction permits issued in Kimberley, up 32% over 2015 and more than double 2014. With 23 new single family homes permitted up to August and several more in the approvals cue, new home construction is on pace for a 40% increase over 2015. Commercial construction has seen healthy gains as well. With building and facade improvements going on in every direction the commercial vacancy rate is the lowest it has been since 2011.
Kimberley is not alone in its busy construction climate. Cranbrook has seen an eruption of residential construction with 46 new dwellings permitted in 2016, up from a few dozen in 2015.
This is an illustration of the strength in the Cranbrook-Kimberley corridor, where combined residential construction activity thus far in 2016 is worth over $25M, and jumps to over $30M when residential construction in the surrounding rural areas is included.
And tourism is enjoying a banner year. Visitation in 2016 is up nearly 16% over this time in 2015 as measured by the additional hotel room tax collected.
According to Tourism Kimberley Executive Director Jesse Ferguson, “Kimberley is getting noticed and its cool factor is growing. There has not been a week this past Summer that I have not hosted a travel writer or journalist who think we have a story worth telling.”
Events like the Single Track 6, the Black Spur Ultra marathon, the Gran Fondo, the Medieval Festival, Arts on the Edge, and First Saturdays kept the community hopping nearly every weekend throughout the Summer and into the Fall, supported by growth in the thousands of visitors coming to the community for events at the Conference Centre.
According to municipal Economic Development Officer Kevin Wilson “The relationship between tourism and investment is well documented. Once people experience Kimberley as visitors they are far more likely to buy a home, move or start a business. That’s why the City and the Chamber work closely with Tourism Kimberley to ensure continuity in our messaging and to make sure information is available to support decision-making.” An impressive statistic that illustrates how strength in tourism is driving investment is the 234 relocation inquiries that have been fielded at the Kimberley Visitor Centre thus far in 2016, a 90% increase over the total for all of 2015.