More than $2 million is being invested in a series of North Coast tourism infrastructure projects, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport announced Feb. 4.
The injection of funds is part of the second round of the 2021 Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program’s Destination Development stream. The $21.3 million of additional funding in 2022 raises the province’s total investment in tourism to $41.3 million reaching more than 100 projects, the ministry said.
“We know tourism infrastructure is a priority for communities. Today, we are responding to this call to action from the sector that will further support its recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said. “Our investment in tourism creates good-paying jobs that directly support local economies now and will elevate our reputation as a world-class destination for the many visitors looking to return to B.C. for years to come.”
Tourism Prince Rupert has been granted $239,126 to install a new “Welcome to Prince Rupert” sign with additional wayfinding signage in the region.
On Haida Gwaii, three projects will benefit from the influx of investments.
“The tourism sector was hit hard here in B.C. due to the impacts of the pandemic, and this was especially felt on Haida Gwaii. That is why I’m glad to announce that our government is investing in tourism infrastructure on the island,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.
In Port Clements, the Sunset Park Revitalization Project is receiving $269,746.
Funds will be used to restore and upgrade Sunset Park’s three-storey birdwatching tower along the Yakoun River, repair and improve connecting trails, complete extensive brushing and cleanup in the woods surrounding Sunset Park Campground, build a change room, a covered seating area and install bear-resistant garbage and recycling containers in Sunset Park Campground.
The Old Massett Village Council will collect $798,625 for the Hiellen Village Longhouse expansion project. Seven cabins and four tent pads will be added. The work will also include the construction of roads, water systems, sewage, a washroom and walkways.
The Qay’Llnagaay Heritage Centre Society will get $472,770 for infrastructure upgrades to the Haida Heritage Centre, in Queen Charlotte. Some of the improvements include new COVID-19 safety measures.
Also in the north, the Nisga’a village of Gitwinksihlkw will receive $400,000 to develop the River Walk, Lava Bed Trail and Saasak’ Hill Trails systems, and the Smithers Ski Club which will get $418,000 to create a winter sports event centre at Hudson Bay Mountain Resort.
Funding for projects was chosen for their demonstrated tourism benefits to communities and ability to provide employment for apprentices, youth, new Canadians, women and Indigenous Peoples. Eligible applicants included local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations, the ministry said.
– With files from Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
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