anybody here living in these areas, say close to trail? what's it like and how are the job prospects? i'm contemplating gettin outta dodge and doing something different. would connsider a bit further north to kaslo or new denver too.
I live in Rossland, made the move from Van in 2008. Don't regret it for a second. Everything is literally in your backyard. trails less than 5 mins pedal from any house in town, ski hill/xc ski trails 5 mins drive, and trail is 10 mins away for your big box/ hospital/ airport/etc.
I'm not sure what your financial/mortgage situation is, but if you are worrying about money you could potentially lose on your pension, do the math and figure out what you could buy for what you have paid off on your mortgage (or what your house is worth, or what rent is, etc) and i think you will find financially its a no-brainer as well. Houses are max 500k here, good 3-4 bedroom places will be 300, and decent older/smaller places can be had for 200. plenty of places sub 150. Trail is way cheaper than that. And for a reason. Not the pollution, but the perception of it. Yes historically the smelter was terribly polluting, and lead levels were bad in soil etc. This has all been remediated, and the smelter is pretty clean these days.
Main thing with the Koots is, to get a good job takes time and/or creativity. There are lots of good jobs in certain industries (electrical/engineering/industrial carpenter/pipefitter associated with the smelter, pulp mill in cgar, etc) theres also the regional hospital in trail so lots of doctors/nurses live in Rossland. Tons of cat/heli ops if you want to guide or be a chef, resort jobs at the ski hills, etc. Beyond that, lots of people go away for shift work (myself included- some of the time). Otherwise, there are jobs, but its just on a small scale. IE your job is probably there, but you might have to work doing something else for a while until a position opens up, since there is just less to chose from. And the region forces people, for better or worse, to get creative, open their own business, cobble together different/freelance/season work, or even just do low paying jobs they enjoy, since the cost of living is lower. No one cares about keeping up with the neighbours, having the latest car, eating at fancy restaurants (friends and potlucks are the go to), and buying shit all the time to be happy.
Like some people recommended, just load up your bikes and family and camp/stay/hang out in and around the different towns and get a feel for them to figure out your jam. Theres a ton of small towns within a 1hr driving area that people commute back and forth to, between nelson, the valley, trail, castlegar, salmo, rossland, etc. They are actually all fairly different too, from sleepy retiree towns to blue-collar avg joe towns, to hippy towns, to redneck, and everything in between.
Kaslo and New Denver are beautiful but small and isolated. You arent going to want to commute from there to any of the major centres, and they are pretty limited in stores/restaurants/amenities. kaslo is like 1500 people, new denver 500. but they are located in some of the most amazing mountains around for skiing, hiking, riding and camping.
anyway thats enough rambling from me, come check out the area, spend some time, and most importantly, dont be afraid to just go for it. The communities here are so open, friendly, and amazing. that was my favourite thing once i had made the move. Yeah there are only 4000 people in Rossland, but most of them have moved here for the lifestyle, and are into the outdoors, being active, are well-travelled, and have a great outlook on life. Good luck!