Local resort communities will see more tourism funding

Local resort communities will see more funding in the future thanks to the continued Resort Municipality Initiative.

The government of British Columbia recently announced that it will continue to support tourism in 14 resort communities throughout the province with $10.5 million for projects aimed at enhancing local tourism infrastructure amenities.

The funding comes from the government’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), which helps to grow the tourism sector in the eligible 14 different communities, three of which are located in the Columbia Valley in Golden, Radium Hot Springs and Invermere.

“It’s really important,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft , noting that it was something of a rallying point for the 13 other communities who came together for the annual UBCM conference in Victoria last week. “It’s made a huge difference for Invermere. We’re able to work together on a lot of things and share our best practices and for all of us it’s a practice of being able to do some discretionary projects and make investments into the community that we wouldn’t be able to afford to do otherwise.”

Mayor of the Radium Hot Springs Clara Reinhardt echoed Taft’s sentiment.

“The RMI funding has been instrumental in creating the beautiful Village we have today,” she said. “Without the funding we would not have trees along the boulevard, enhanced sidewalks, trails, new playground equipment, Adventure Radium and the list goes on.”

Taft said that Invermere has recently entered into a five-year agreement with the province as part of their Resort Development Strategy. Within the strategy, they’ve outlined some of the ways that RMI funding will be allocated over the next five years. The funding includes $90,000 from 2015 to 2017 for the Resort Community Gateway Program. Taft said one of the more notable projects in the past that the RMI helped fund was the Mountain-Valley Shuttle Service that buses residents from Invermere to Panorama free of charge in hopes of increasing transportation to one of the Columbia Valley’s largest resorts.

Other projects that Taft said will receive funding from the RMI in the future include the waterfront access program, the community ambassador program and events co-ordination.

Since 2006 when the RMI was created, more than $108.6 million in funding has been invested in these small resort-oriented municipalities. According to the government, the province’s tourism sector is experiencing significant growth in 2016. The number of total overnight international visitors to British Columbia in 2016 so far (January to July) surpassed the three million mark for an increase of 12.5 per cent over the same period last year.

“B.C’s tourism industry is experiencing incredible growth,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour in a press release. “It’s helping to create jobs and is one of the reasons why our province has the leading economy in Canada.”

While the funding is appreciated, Taft said, it doesn’t come without its stipulations. The government mandates that it be used to enhance infrastructure, services and programs in ways that could increase the number of visitors and their length of stay, broaden resort activities to expand the length of the tourist season, increase employment and diversify the local tax base.

Taft said that although the funding comes with rules such as spending 70 per cent of the funds on infrastructure and 30 per cent on programming, he’s comfortable with the funding guidelines.

“Some communities would like to put more money into events and less money into infrastructure, but in general I think everyone is comfortable that there are some guidelines for how the money is spent,” he said. “It has a side benefit. It’s not the purpose of the program, but the side benefit is that local residents also get to benefit from these investments so it also provides a reason for local citizens to see a benefit out of tourism.”


Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read