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Kamloops: Looking to a future beyond lumber and mining

Forestry remains a stalwart in the B.C. interior hub, but that's changing


Kamloops is B.C.'s sixth largest city and a transportation hub for the province. Historically dependent on lumber, the city was forced to diversify its economy in the years following the softwood lumber dispute of the 1990s and early 2000s. The city's sawmills may have gone quiet (there are however two super-mills in nearby Chase and Clinton) but the city remains an important forestry centre in the province. Both the Domtar Kamloops Pulp Mill and Tolko-Heffley Creek Plywood and Veneer are economic engines and employers. Meanwhile, the head offices Domtar and Tolko Industries make the city an important service centre. Thanks to their presence, Kamloops has the second highest concentration of value-added plants in the province, according to Venture Kamloops. It's also a services centre for mining in the interior, in particular the Highland Valley Copper Mine in nearby Logan Lake. Overall, the city's GDP is projected to grow at 2.2 per cent annually through to 2020. Residential and commercial developments continue to rev up investor and tech startups' interest in the city, while Thompson Rivers University's expansion plans is sure to draw more young people to the region.