When Tumbler Ridge’s main economic supplier (Quintette Coal Mine) closed in 1999 the town became virtually deserted overnight. Although the second mine (Bullmoose) was not scheduled to close for another 3 years the general feeling was that Tumbler Ridge was doomed.
Then came the surprise. Many couples had raised their families here (the mine opened in 1982) and did not want to leave. A plan was developed and a vigorous campaign was implemented to let the rest of Canada know that inexpensive (cheap) house were for sale in a very pretty mountain town.
The general consensus was that the majority of the homes would be purchased by seniors - looking for inexpensive retirement homes. Another surprise - Many young couples looking for a safer and quieter (and affordable) environment to raise their children flocked to the area.
Likewise those who make their living in the oil patch or forestry industry (they tend to work away from home for long stretches at a time and therefore location is not a priority) began moving into town.
From the Maritimes, Ontario, Southern BC, the U.S. and all places in between, they came. Impressed by the friendliness, the community spirit and the wilderness beauty they stayed. Within 2 years over 700 homes have been sold and dozens of condos as well.
New mine are open or opening, increases oil and gas exploration, improved logging activity and revitalized tourist activity (discovery of dinosaur tracks) has greatly improved the optimism for long term prosperity.
By the spring of 2005 population had grown to over 3,200 and more are on their way.
For those of you who appreciate the beauty of nature and still dream of a quieter life, the residents of Tumbler Ridge will welcome you with open arms.