Chetwynd, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1983, population 2635 (2011c), 2633 (2006c). The District of Chetwynd is located in the valley of the Pine River near Pine Pass to the west, in the northeast corner of British Columbia, 310 km north of PRINCE GEORGE. Originally a trading post called Little Prairie (1918), the community was renamed Chetwynd in 1959 after Ralph Chetwynd, a BC pioneer and minister of railways in the SOCIAL CREDIT government. Chetwynd was incorporated as a village in 1962.
There was little development in the region until after World War II. With the construction of the John Hart Highway in 1952 and the BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY (completed in 1958), Chetwynd was incorporated as a village in 1962. A boom occurred in the late 1960s with the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. Chetwynd changed its status to a district municipality in 1983.
At the junctions of highways 97 and 29, Chetwynd has become a service centre for forestry, oil and natural gas fields and the northeastern coalfields. A pulp mill and sawmills comprise the major employers in the community. There are also gas, coal-processing and sulphur-processing plants in the area. Recent proposals to reopen coal mines south of Chetwynd may attract more population and jobs. A campus of Northern Lights Community College is located here.