CBC has officially launched its permanent bureau in Cranbrook, which will focus on telling stories from B.C.'s Kootenays.
The new bureau is part of a CBC initiative to expand its commitment to local news, with the public broadcaster creating 14 journalism positions in smaller communities across the country.
"These newly announced positions across the country are aimed at broadening and deepening our journalism while building relationships with regional and cultural communities," Susan Marjetti, CBC's general manager of news, current affairs and local, said in a news release.
Video journalist Corey Bullock is now based in the Cranbrook bureau.
Before joining the CBC, Bullock was a multimedia journalist with Black Press Media for six years in Cranbrook. Originally from Burlington, Ont., she studied print, broadcast and online journalism at Humber College in Toronto, and theatre production at Langara College in Vancouver.
Bullock says she's excited about the opportunity to share more stories from across the Kootenays as a CBC journalist — including hard stories about issues such as homelessness and housing affordability, and happy stories related to local arts and Indigenous communities.
"A lot of people — at least in Cranbrook — listen to the CBC, and they listen to [CBC Daybreak South host] Chris Walker and they listen to [CBC Radio West host] Sarah [Penton] on a daily basis, so they're really excited to see the stories from this side of the province represented on the CBC platform," Bullock said.
To mark the official launch of the bureau, Daybreak South and Radio West are broadcasting their radio shows live from from Hot Shots Café in Cranbrook on Friday.
Michelle Eliot also traveled from Vancouver to host her province-wide call-in show BC Today from the café on Friday.
On Saturday and Sunday, Bullock will be at the CBC's booth at the winter market held in Cranbrook's Western Financial Place to chat with people about the new bureau and their stories.
Listen | Daybreak South live from Cranbrook:
'A rich story area'
Cranbrook, home to more than 20,000 residents, is part of the East Kootenay region, which also includes communities such as Kimberley, Fernie, Sparwood and Invermere.
Latest census data shows the Kootenays are one of the fastest growing regions in B.C.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick says CBC's permanent bureau in the area has been "a long time coming."
"We have been gotten a lot less coverage than the West Kootenay or the Okanagan have, and I'm pretty thrilled to hear that [Bullock's role] is going to be a full-time position," he said.
Shiral Tobin, director of journalism and programming of CBC British Columbia, says by establishing a permanent bureau in the hub of a rapidly growing region, the public broadcaster can better reflect what happens in not only southeastern B.C., but also southern Alberta, as well as Idaho and Montana in the United States.
"We see the whole area as a rich story area," she said.
The CBC previously had a bureau in Nelson, where Bob Keating served as correspondent for two decades before he retired in May 2021. After that, the public broadcaster set up a pop-up bureau in Cranbrook, with Brendan Coulter as its correspondent.
Tobin says the CBC met with stakeholders and other members of local communities during the pop-up bureau stage, and conversations with them will continue when the bureau has become permanent.
She says she is looking forward to hearing stories from people in the Kootenays.
"I look forward to seeing the mountains and the snow, and all the people who call it home," she said.