In the Kootenay Rockies region, eight communities with local economies that depend heavily on visitors have received almost $5 million to support tourism infrastructure development.
“This direct investment in tourism-dependent communities was a call to action from the tourism sector and an integral part of our recovery plan,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “These projects will provide good-paying jobs now, create valuable assets for communities and attract more visitors in the future.”
A total of 46 new tourism-development projects were identified by communities throughout B.C. and include updated trails for e-bikes and adaptive trikes, signage, solar electric-vehicle charging stations, sea kayak touring and picnic facilities, water park construction, and creating an arts and culture stage.
“Tourism is such an important industry for people and businesses across the Kootenays," said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “With this funding, we will be in even better shape to welcome visitors back after the pandemic. From electric-vehicle charging stations in Fernie and a spray park for families to enjoy in Radium Hot Springs, to trail upgrades on Kimberly’s Mountains Project for e-bikes and adaptive trikes, these investments will attract even more visitors to our beautiful part of the world.”
Thirty-two communities have received a combined $19.4 million through the Tourism Dependent Communities Initiative. The approved projects must be completed by March 2023.
“The City of Nelson, like many other communities in B.C., has been greatly impacted by COVID-19,” said John Dooley, Nelson mayor. “Our community relies heavily on tourism, and although this past year has been challenging, I have witnessed incredible resilience and innovative thinking that has helped our businesses stay afloat. Investing in Cottonwood Park and wayfinding signage will help support our tourism industry and provide a warm welcome for visitors coming back to our community. It will also help advance strategic priorities, such as the implementation of the Railtown Plan, which will also benefit the local community. Council is very appreciative of this funding and looks forward to seeing our beautiful city in full bloom again.”
This is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan, including:
- the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program;
- Destination Development; and
- the Regional Tourism Development Initiative.
B.C. communities that received tourism-dependent community funding are Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount, Whistler, Barriere, Port Alice, Clearwater, Powell River, Squamish, Nelson, Parksville, Ladysmith, Gibsons, Port Hardy, Sechelt, North Cowichan, Grand Forks, Prince Rupert, Qualicum Beach, Smithers, 100 Mile House and Lillooet.
Communities have been identified as tourism dependent based on a combination of criteria, including:
- collecting the municipality and regional district tax;
- having a population of fewer than 25,000 and located outside of Metro Vancouver or the Capital Regional District; and
- having a higher percentage of accommodation-sector wages in comparison to total employment wages.
For a backgrounder listing approved projects and costs, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Backgrounder_25-03-2021_TDC_project_list.pdf