One-on-one with Castlegar Chamber President Derrek Kittson

“Our city's future looks so bright for population and economic growth.” — Derrek Kittson

by
Derrek Kittson stands in front of his business, Central City Shoes.

Besides being president of the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce, Derrek Kittson is also the owner of Central City Shoes in Castlegar. — Photo courtesy Derrek Kittson

Derrek Kittson wears a lot of hats. He’s currently the President of the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce, owner of Central City Shoes, and once upon a time, he even used to be on Shaw Channel 10 as the entertainment reporter for the entire Kootenays.

With his current role as Chamber President, Kittson chairs monthly meetings, attends executive meetings and supports all of the Chamber’s initiatives. With his finger on the pulse of Castlegar, Kittson is optimistic about the potential for future growth in and around the city. From a new chamber building, to upgraded infrastructure on Columbia Avenue, Castlegar is moving ahead, despite the challenges presented from COVID-19.

Here’s why Kittson expects big things for Castlegar over the next few years.

What motivated you to become Chamber President of Castlegar?

It was basically offered to me after just four or five years on the board. A huge honour that I never even thought possible the day I first opened my business, Central City Shoes.

How do you balance time between being Castlegar Chamber president and running Central City Shoes?

I've got to admit that executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk and the chamber staff do most of the work. I have two meetings a month and then do a fair bit of work at our numerous events throughout the year. I actually wish I had more to do for the Chamber, especially with Covid canceling everything.

What accomplishments has Castlegar seen in the past year?

The current Columbia Avenue Phase 2 new water/sewer/underground infrastructure for the city and new pavement because it is also Highway 22.

Also, all the business recovery work we did due to Covid.

What's on the horizon for Castlegar in the coming year?

Our brand new Chamber of Commerce building just got announced! Lots of fun work is required to complete this major project.

Rendering for Castlegar's new chamber of Commerce/Visitor Centre building.

A new Castlegar Chamber of Commerce building is in the works. This is an artist’s rendering of the upcoming project. — Image courtesy Derrek Kittson

What do you love most about living in Castlegar?

I love Castlegar's Okanagan hot sunny summers and snowy Whistler winters. I love that our city's future looks so bright for population and economic growth.

What are some challenges unique to Castlegar?

Our airport's reliability during inclement weather. The technology (ILS) exists but it's up to the airlines to send the Q400 or other modern aircraft to our airport in order to land or take off in almost any weather.

If you could do one thing to improve Castlegar regardless of cost, what would you do?

Fund our share of our new Chamber building.

The city has the money for various airport improvements, but as I mentioned, it is the airlines that need to pitch in as well.

What is your personal passion project, beyond work?

Live music, whether it's playing it myself (punk rock guitar and vocals, or just drums), co-hosting an open mic in town here, or going to see live music at a venue.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Castlegar's future seems so bright. We are the last secret of southern B.C. and I see no reason why we won't start to boom for the next five years.

Kyle Born

Kyle Born is a writer for Kootenay Business and his initials match that of the magazine—it must be fate that brought them together. View all of Kyle Born’s articles

Related articles

West Kootenay, Castlegar, Tourism What does it take to run a world-class motocross track and ORV area in the Kootenays?

David Ketel, president of the WKRDAS near Castlegar, B.C., delves into the exhaustive and fulfilling work required to operate a family-friendly ORV destination

by
West Kootenay, Castlegar, Nelson, Rossland, Salmo, Slocan, Trail, Environment, Health & Wellness, Small Business Replenish, refill and recycle at this West Kootenay business

Based in Nelson, B.C., Melinda Nealis and Kayla Carley are the mother-and-daughter duo behind Replenish—The Kootenay Refill Store

by
West Kootenay, Castlegar, Small Business Mo’ Better Organized in Castlegar helps clients clear away clutter

Mo’ Better Organized assists clients by helping them organize their homes and lives

by
View all Castlegar articles

Comments