Community Description

The District Municipality of Tumbler Ridge is a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Northeastern British Columbia, Canada, and a member municipality of the Peace River Regional District. The municipality of 1,574 square kilometres (608 sq mi), with its population of 2,454 people, incorporates a townsite and a large area of mostly Crown land.

The housing and municipal infrastructure, along with regional infrastructure connecting the new town to other municipalities, were built simultaneously in 1981 by the provincial government to service the coal industry as part of the British Columbia Resources Investment Corporation’s Northeast Coal Development.

In 1981, a consortium of Japanese steel mills agreed to purchase 100 million tonnes of coal over 15 years for US$7.5 billion from two mining companies, Denison Mines Inc. and the Teck Corporation who were to operate the Quintette mine and the Bullmoose mine, respectively.

Declining global coal prices after 1981, and weakening Asian markets in the late 1990s, made the town’s future uncertain and kept it from achieving its projected population of 10,000 people. The uncertainty dissuaded investment and kept the economy from diversifying.

When price reductions were forced onto the mines, the Quintette mine was closed in 2000 production and the town lost about half its population. Since 2000 rising coal prices have led to the opening of new mines in and near the municipality by Northern Energy & Mining Inc. and Western Coal.

After dinosaur footprints, fossils and bones were discovered in the municipality, along with fossils of Triassic fishes and cretaceous plants, the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre opened in 2003.

The research centre and a dinosaur museum were funded in part by the federal Western Economic Diversification Canada to decrease economic dependence on the coal industry. Economic diversification has also occurred with oil and gas exploration, forestry, and recreational tourism.

Nearby recreational destinations include numerous trails, mountains, waterfalls, snowmobiling areas and provincial parks, such as the Monkman Provincial Park, Bearhole Lake Provincial Park, and the Gwillim Lake Provincial Park.

Community Links

BC Tourism
Council of Forest Industries
District of Tumbler Ridge
Chamber of Commerce

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