Picturesque Salmon Arm, as seen from atop Bastion Mountain, a popular local recreation area..
Creative startup work environment sets Salmon Arm apart
As a mid-sized community home to 17,700 residents, Salmon Arm is breaking the mould in terms of its established technology cluster and creative-class workforce. The community has worked diligently to establish a startup climate and supportive business environment that has enhanced Salmon Arm’s reputation as a desirable city to live and work.
Located on the shores of Shuswap Lake, the picturesque city has long been known for its beauty and access to outdoor recreational activities such as lake activities, golf, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Complementing the city’s natural splendour is the recent investment in a fibre-optic network to the door of 90 per cent of homes and businesses, meaning access to world-class internet speeds.
“This asset of fibre-to-the-door connectivity represents a huge competitive advantage for Salmon Arm,” says Lana Fitt, Salmon Arm’s economic development manager. “This investment has created new opportunities to grow our local technology sector, including expanded supports for residents working remotely in any number of fields around the world.”
Known for being home to Western Canada’s largest hub of sawmill equipment manufacturing, Salmon Arm also supports 77 other technology companies. The knowledge and expertise supplied by these firms has provided innovations not only for the forestry sector but also agriculture, advanced manufacturing, health care and education.
Located directly on the TransCanada Highway, midway between Calgary and Vancouver, Salmon Arm offers easy access to domestic and international markets. The city’s designated industrial park is currently home to 80 businesses but has space for future development. The park has a desirable price point in terms of land cost and, until mid-2019, the city is offering an industrial taxation exemption program to support and encourage new light industrial developments.
The community is supported by an education system that offers both public and private school options, kindergarten to Grade 12 French immersion and a local campus of Okanagan College, including a dedicated Trades Training Centre.
“Salmon Arm has been the perfect place to raise our family,” says Fitt “offering exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities and big city amenities, including arts and culture events, a twin-sheet arena and an indoor aquatic centre—all packaged in a safe community where you know your neighbours and can commute to work in under 10 minutes are you’re connected to your neighbours.”