One-on-one with Emma Beaton, manager of the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce

News and views about the Slocan Valley, a darling of the West Kootenay region

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Heritage house painted yellow and green, housing the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Silvery Slocan Museum.

The Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce is responsible for the Slocan Valley Visitor Centre, which co-locates with the Silvery Slocan Museum in New Denver. — Kerry Shellborn photo

The pandemic has seemingly contributed to the desire to live, work and play in the Slocan Valley, according to Emma Beaton, manager of the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Slocan Valley includes the villages of New Denver, Silverton and Slocan and falls within the Regional District of the Central Kootenay.

Beaton has been the manager of the chamber for one year, and she has made note of the new residents and businesses moving into the valley.

Emma Beaton, manager of the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Emma Beaton has been manager of the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce for one year—and what a year to start a new job! — Photo courtesy Emma Beaton

The chamber is responsible for the Visitor Centre, which co-locates with the Silvery Slocan Museum in a 1896 heritage building—the province’s first Bank of Montreal. It is located at 202 - 6th Avenue in New Denver.

One of Beaton’s first tasks was of the digital kind.

“In 2020, we created a beautiful new website with a wonderful member section highlighting the services available in the valley,” she said.

The website is useful and attractive for its 100+ members and for all those we want to live, work and play in this Kootenay paradise.

We recently interviewed Beaton to hear her news and views of the Slocan Valley.

What motivated you to become the manager of the Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce?

I was motivated to do so because I love our valley and wanted to know it better as well as to help contribute to the economy here. As a mother of two children in the area who has chosen to make it home, building up businesses and creating jobs and resources that make life easier for residents is a win/win.

What accomplishments has the Slocan Valley seen in the past year?

The Slocan Valley Chamber of Commerce put on a well-attended Christmas Light Up event and Merchants Night. We were able to pivot our operations among COVID-19 and open our Visitor Centre for the summer season. We have begun production on a series of professional videos marketing our valley to new businesses and residents alike.

What challenges has the Slocan Valley had to overcome in the past year?

The Chamber of Commerce has been limited the past year due to COVID-19, and we were unable to put on some of our annual events such as our May Days Pancake Breakfast and Christmas Party. However, we were able to open the Visitor Center for a shorter period with minimal staff as well as organize a safe and socially distanced Merchants Night, incorporating the Light Up of Main street with Christmas lights and colouring contest.

What's on the horizon for the Slocan Valley in the coming year?

The Slocan Valley has definitely seen growth over the last year and we look forward to the new opportunities this creates. With new residents, businesses and skills coming in, COVID-19 has seemingly contributed to the desire to live, work and play here.

The Chamber of Commerce is excited to continue to welcome and assist in the growth of business in our community as well as to debut our efforts at creating video marketing for the area to do so. We are excited to open and operate our Visitor Center at a greater capacity than last year’s COVID-19 situation allowed.

What do you love most about living in the Slocan Valley?

The people and sense of community, with love and respect for the land and our neighbours. This is truly a special place.

Aerial view of the Slocan Valley.

The Slocan Valley includes the villages of New Denver, Silverton and Slocan (pictured here) and falls within the Regional District of the Central Kootenay. — Adrian Wagner Studio photo

What are some challenges unique to the Slocan Valley?

Sometimes internet access can be a challenge as well as shopping opportunities. We have a wealth of wonderful local businesses, though some items require a trip to Nelson or Castlegar. Year-round access to dining options and work can be limited.

If you could do one thing to improve the Slocan Valley regardless of cost, what would you do?

Create jobs, housing and food security as well as open a local food restaurant.

What do you do in your free time to enjoy the Slocan Valley?

I swim in beautiful Slocan Lake and spend evenings by the fire with friends.

Virginia Rasch

Virginia is a writer and editor with KPI Media. She is an avid outdoor recreationist in all seasons and has lived in the Kootenays for over 15 years. With degrees in the natural sciences, she has worked as a tour guide, an environmentalist, a writer, and an editor of books and scientific publications. Virginia now brings her passion for everything green to KootenayBiz. View all of Virginia Rasch’s articles

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