Many people in the valley have heard that Radium Hot Springs is a Resort Municipality, but may not understand what that actually means.
Originally in 2006, 13 municipalities in the province were chosen for the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program. It was intended to assist small, tourism-based municipalities to support and increase visitation. Since these municipalities typically have a small tax base due to their size, the demands of their tourism activity often strain the resources available to provide infrastructure and event programming. RMI funding allows the chosen communities to dedicate resources to improving tourism-based infrastructure and amenities to attract more visitors and encourage longer stays.
The Resort Development Strategy Vision for Radium Hot Springs is to be a pedestrian-friendly community with streetscapes harmoniously balanced with our rugged surroundings, to serve as a year-round home base for visitors seeking to enjoy our natural hot pools, resident wildlife and cultural amenities in a pristine mountain setting, and as a gateway to the wider spectrum of wilderness alpine environments, biologically diverse lakes, rivers and wetlands, and ski, spa and golf resorts.
To support the vision, the village, with the assistance of Tourism Radium, has set up five Resort Development Strategy Goals: 1) To increase Sustainable Tourism; 2) To provide improved access to information to better inform visitors; 3) To support a core list of programs and events that will enhance visitor experience and develop ongoing visitor loyalty; 4) To provide enhanced care and maintenance of parks and streetscapes to portray the high quality appearance befitting a resort municipality; 5) To provide improved pedestrian access to our major attraction — the Radium Hot Pools — and to popular hiking trails located within and around Kootenay National Park.
With the assistance of all our motels, hotels, and businesses in Radium, we are working towards all of the above and more. As the economy improves, visitation numbers will hopefully increase and therefore bringing in additional funding to the community. Radium Hot Springs will continue to provide a warm, welcoming environment and enhanced visitor experience for all those who come to visit, not only Radium, but the entire Columbia Valley.
For those of you reading this, I encourage you to visit the Radium Visitor Centre — one of the top 10 busiest in the province. It is a place you will find wildlife displays, an amazing history of the area, a model of the mountain ranges, and a host of well-trained employees to answer all of your questions.
Dee Conklin is the mayor of the Village of Radium Hot Springs and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley.