In the Vancouver Island and Vancouver, Coast & Mountains regions, 14 communities with local economies that depend heavily on visitors have received $9.2 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.
“Investment in tourism infrastructure in Harrison Hot Springs, Gibsons, Sechelt and other tourism-dependent communities outside of the Lower Mainland means more reasons to explore the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains regions year round,” said Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. “Once it is safe for us to travel again, I know that these communities will welcome visitors with open arms."
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 industry drives our local economy, and COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on people and businesses,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “This funding will create jobs, build more welcoming spaces for visitors for when we’re able to travel, and solidify Qualicum Beach and Parksville as the world-class destinations locals know them to be.”
This is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan, which includes:
- the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program;
- Destination Development; and
- the Regional Tourism Development Initiative.
“The kayak infrastructure will enable visitors to spend time in Port Alice exploring our marine environment and taking in the beauty of the West Coast,” said Kevin Cameron, Port Alice mayor. “This grant offers our community opportunities to support local tourism and economic development that would not be possible to fund otherwise. We are grateful to the provincial government for making this possible.”
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