About EVEI

The Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) is an economic development partnership between eight voting members representing the District of Elkford, the City of Fernie, the District of Sparwood, the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation Administration (Tobacco Plains), the Elkford Chamber of Commerce, the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, and Teck Resources. The EVEI is supported by our partner organizations with representatives from the Government of BC’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, Community Futures East Kootenay, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, and the Columbia Basin Trust. More information can be found below about the EVEI’s member and partner organizations.

The purpose of the Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) is to collaboratively pursue regional economic development projects and initiatives in the Elk Valley to expand opportunities for existing businesses, attract new ones, and diversify existing businesses. The EVEI will champion, support and articulate opportunities for projects and initiatives, while creating a network and increasing communication among individuals or organizations involved in the region’s economic development.

The EVEI receives annual core funding through the Elk Valley’s Inter-Community Business Licence agreement between the three local governments of Elkford, Fernie and Sparwood. The EVEI currently contracts administration services and coordination of the EVEI to the Fernie Chamber of Commerce.


Voting Members of the EVEI

District of Elkford
Current representative: Jeremy Johnston, Director of Planning and Development Services

Elkford, a picturesque town located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, was born in 1971 offering lodgings and amenities for the ever increasing mining community. Today the town offers unrivalled community spirit and an array of superb facilities to a proud population of approximately 3000.

An abundance of investment and economic opportunities exist, and whilst Elkford continues to have strong economic and social connection to the mining industry, trends such as community growth, above average median income, anticipated long-term expansion of the mining industry, a thriving regional tourism industry and exponential growth in mountain property investment certainly have profound influence.

Demand for recreational housing also generates opportunity as both visitors and investors come to the community to counter the pressures of urban environments. Outdoor enthusiasts seek the serenity, peace, solitude and active lifestyle that is afforded, and affordable. A rare commodity that is core to our unique community identity.


City of Fernie
Current representative: Michael Boronowski, Chief Administrative Officer

Fernie has a robust, multi-faceted economy which is strengthened by its ties to both resource extraction and tourism.

Mining and forestry remain key industries in Fernie with the city serving as an accommodation community to the coal mines in the neighboring areas. Both are a key source of business and employment throughout the region.

Continual steady growth in the tourism industry also provides another major source of employment and revenue. We strive to ensure that the local economy stays strong for established businesses and has growth opportunities for any new business and entrepreneur.

Our Economic Development strategy is geared towards making Fernie an attractive destination for new business alongside a perfect relocation for an established business. Economic growth and diversification are paramount to us.

Our strategy focuses on business retention as well as investment in infrastructure and marketing of the City and region, in an effort to recruit new business.

District of Sparwood
Current representative: Patrick Sorfleet, Director of Planning and Development

Rocky Mountains, clean air and water, four seasons of incredible activity, a friendly community and a thriving major industry. If you could do business anywhere in the world, this is one of the finest places to be. Sparwood, BC is yours and mine.

Located closely to the border, Sparwood is certainly the gateway to BC, readily open for business and an incredible place to live, work and play! We are a mining community; a collection of hard-working, fun-loving people who happily call Sparwood home. Metallurgical coal is used to make steel which is used in the manufacturing of everything from wind turbines through to clinical and dentistry tools to the bike you ride and the car you drive.

Our focus is on business retention and expansion. We welcome innovative, diverse and entrepreneurial business partners who seek development in a thriving area with solid economy and ever increasing population. Join us.

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation
Current representative: Vacant seat

The Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it is located in Grasmere, BC near the Roosville Border Crossing. We are part of the Ktunaxa Nation. The purpose of the Tobacco Plains First Nation Administration is to establish, maintain, conduct and promote among our Chief and Council and our membership, support and guidance in establishing goals towards health and wellness, employment and training, and cultural heritage.

The Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it is one of several Ktunaxa Nation communities in Canada and comprises 10,600 acres in Southeastern British Columbia. The Southern boundary adjoins the USA border in Montana. Highway 93 crosses the Reserve at two locations and the Reserve surrounds the Canada Customs facility.

The members of Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation (in English, “Tobacco Plains Indian Band”) are the descendants of the distinct group of indigenous people who have occupied, controlled, and been the exclusive stewards over their unceded ancestral lands that surround ʔakink̓umǂasnuqǂiʔit (“Tobacco Plains”) since time immemorial. Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it people are members of the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) speaking peoples of British Columbia, Idaho and Montana.

Today, the Tobacco Plains Indian Reserve comprises 10,600 acres surrounding Grasmere, in Southeastern British Columbia. Highway 93 crosses the Reserve at two locations and the Reserve surrounds the Canada Customs facility.

The purpose of the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation administration is to protect and further the aboriginal rights of Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it membership and provide opportunities in economic development, health and wellness, employment and training, and cultural heritage, for all Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it people.

Elkford Chamber of Commerce
Current representative: Shawna Bryant, Board Director

The Elkford Chamber of Commerce is an important link to the world of business and marketing in Elkford, BC. Working together, the Chamber and its members can accomplish many things as a collective and integral voice within this wonderful business Community and beyond.

Our goals are to continue being a strong advocate and supporter of local business, a valuable support system and an effective network provider. We strive to strengthen existing partnerships and meet assistance needs of our members. Meeting and event opportunities are plentiful and a wealth of information and advice is available to members in addition to the many Chamber discounts and offers.

We strive to encourage new business through sharing our knowledge, encouraging liaison with community partners and providing accurate information to base solid decisions. Growth and economic stability of our community is our priority.

Fernie Chamber of Commerce
Current representative: Andy Cohen, Board Director

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is a business support organization dedicated to enhancing the economic future of Fernie and the quality of life for our residents. Members of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce are able to access a number of benefits and services designed to help their business prosper. We are a vibrant organization recognized for its valuable contribution to the community.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce represents Fernie businesses and will advocate on our members’ behalf, also being able to provide a number of members-only benefits. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce offers networking opportunities and targeted advertising to other members of the Fernie business community and beyond.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce helps its members focus on what’s really important to them – building successful businesses

Sparwood Chamber of Commerce
Current representative: Sheila Byers, Board Director

The Sparwood District Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 1983 and operates the Chamber, the Business Information Centre and the Visitor Information Centre from our offices located at Titan Park in Sparwood.

Working closely with the District of Sparwood, we promote business and tourism within and around our community and the beautiful Elk Valley.

The objective of the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce is to sustain existing business, enhance business opportunities and improve the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of the community. We organize a number of community events, rent meeting rooms, provide mine tours in the summer months and offer a tourist gift shop.

We are located next to the “Big Green Truck” on Highway 3.

Teck Resources Ltd.
Current representative: Sharon Strom, Coordinator Sustainability

Teck is the world’s second largest seaborne exporter of steelmaking coal, also known as metallurgical coal or coking coal. Steelmaking coal is used in about 72% of global steel production. Steel has an important role in today’s society, including building infrastructure such as rail, bridges, hospitals and schools, and improving the quality of life for people around the world.

Teck produces steelmaking coal from four mine in the Elk Valley region of British Columbia: Fording River Operations, Greenhills Operations, Line Creek Operations and Elkview Operations.

Supporting Partners of the EVEI

Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation

The Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation manages government services that help support and maintain the strong and diverse economy that British Columbians need for long-term prosperity. It supports the growth of BC’s tech sector, champions innovation across the economy, nurtures small businesses, supports economic development throughout the province, and promotes BC internationally as a preferred place to invest and do business.

Columbia Basin Trust

In the early 1990s, residents, local officials and representatives from regional districts and tribal councils joined together to successfully negotiate with the Province for a share of the Treaty revenues and to secure benefits for the people of the Basin. In July 1995, the Columbia Basin Trust Act was passed into BC Government legislation.

We honour those who saw an opportunity to create this unique, regional organization that would support the efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the region most affected by the Treaty.

Community Futures East Kootenay

Community Futures East Kootenay (CFEK) is dedicated to fostering strong, vibrant local economies. Engaging in Community Economic Development with local governments, key partners and stakeholder organizations, CFEK seeks to be a driving force for economic growth and sustainability throughout the East Kootenay. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, CFEK’s dedicated staff supports the creation and expansion of small businesses in the area.

CFEK promotes economic development and the creation of jobs and wealth in our region by providing small-business loans for start-up, expansion or the purchase of existing businesses. In addition to financial support, CFEK offers a variety of business-related services, including knowledgeable, professional business consultation and access to training for entrepreneurs and their employees.

Economic Trust of the Southern Interior
On February 27, 2006 the Government of British Columbia passed the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust Act, which established SIDIT, a not-for-profit corporation created to administer a $50 million one-time endowment intended to support investment in the economy of the Southern Interior of BC. Governance of the Trust is carried out by a 13-member Board of Directors. Four Directors are appointed by each of two Regional Advisory Committees (RACs), which represent the Columbia- Kootenay and Thompson-Okanagan regions of the Trust`s territory. Membership in the two RACs is limited to local government elected officials and MLAs from each region. The remaining five directors, all of whom reside in the Trust territory, are appointed by the Provincial Government, through its Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office. In March 2021, SIDIT changed its name to ETSI-BC, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior. It continues to deliver on its mandate of helping build a strong and diversified economy in our region.