In the Thompson Okanagan region, six communities with local economies that depend heavily on visitors have received almost $2.8 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.
“We’re investing to make our region even more attractive to visitors. New funding for tourism-dependent communities in our region means new jobs in our communities and new ways to showcase all that we have in our backyard,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “When we're ready to welcome people back, I look forward to enjoying the new arts and culture stage at Sun Peaks and exploring the amenity upgrades in Barriere, Clearwater, Grand Forks, Osoyoos and Valemount.”
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 Tourism Dependent Community Initiative will help support a number of activities Grand Forks has planned that were waiting for funding,” said Brian Taylor, Grand Forks mayor. “Work at the heritage Gallery 2 building – the 1911 Courthouse – and projects to help tourists connect to local businesses and amenities will now proceed. With a downtown slowly recovering from the 2018 flood in addition to 2020's COVID-19 impacts, this grant will provide a real boost to the recovery of our tourism sector.”
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