REGION EIGHT: THE KOOTENAY/ COLUMBIA/ PEND D'OREILLE RIVERS
The Kootenay River near the mouth of the Slocan River has an unparalleled concentration of dams. With the elevation of the river dropping 99 metres (325 feet) over 27 kilometres (17 miles) from the Corra Linn Dam to the Brilliant Dam, and the geography of the area with its snow-capped peaks, steep mountainsides and narrow valleys, it is a dam builder's dream. Some of the earliest hydroelectric development in the province was on this stretch of the river. Today it continues to provide the local region with power and other economic benefits.
The first hydro development in the region for domestic consumption was on Cottonwood Creek in Nelson. The boon of industrial development on the river began with the formation of the West Kootenay Power and Light Company. Initially formed to provide power to the mines in Rossland, it would supply the large smelter located in Trail, which would come to own the company.
As demand increased for domestic and industrial needs, the Kootenay River saw a rush of development. The Columbia River Treaty and the formation of BC Hydro would also contribute to river development in the area.