Island Tourism Destination Development Gets a Much-Needed Boost

Driving through forest on Vancouver Island
Photo: Sofia Neumann, Unsplash.

Eight Vancouver Island tourism businesses are among the 54 recipients of new funding under the B.C. Government’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program’s (CERIP) destination development stream.

According to a media release, the destination development funding invests in implementation-ready tourism infrastructure and amenities projects that support the recovery and resilience of tourism. It is intended to help create jobs and develop infrastructure that will attract visitors to B.C. communities when travel resumes.

Approved projects include campground and recreational-vehicle site development, alpine and mountain bike trails, boat launch upgrades, construction and/or renovations of visitor amenities and Indigenous interpretive centres.

The Island businesses collectively receiving about $3,400,000 in funding are:

Ditidaht Development Corporation: Ditidaht Broadband Connectivity Project

Develop seven rustic recreation cabins on Caycuse River that will be available for rent.

Hornby Island Arts Council: Hornby Island Arts Council and Environs

Construction of a 418 square-metres (4500 sq ft) new community arts centre and environs.

The Raptors Rescue Society: RRS Education Centre

Construction of an indoor greenhouse flying space, wildlife gardens, aviaries, washroom facilities, parking facilities and outdoor admissions area.

Ancient Forest Alliance Society: Avatar Grove Infrastructure Improvement Project

Boardwalks, pedestrian bridges and staircase improvements, added interpretive signage, way-finding, composting outhouse and parking improvements.

Alert Bay: Alert Bay Campground Enhancement Project

Eight new RV campsites, construction of a shower/washroom facility and the installation of 20 updated signs.

Cowichan Wooden Boat Society: Patio Portal Project

Project includes shade structure, tables, beautification. Wheelchair ramp to increase accessibility.

K’omoks Economic Development Corporation: K’ómoks First Nation – Puntledge RV campground expansion

Phase 1 Eighteen RV sites with full hookups including water, sewer, electrical servicing.

Songhees First Nation: Songhees Indigenous Marine Trail (Songhees Marine Trail)

Procure 7.6-metre (25 foot) aluminum 12-passenger landing craft. Engage cultural specialists and create program materials.

Anthony Everett, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island, says “we worked with industry and government to identify projects that could benefit from this support, so are pleased to see tourism operators and Indigenous nations on Vancouver Island receive this funding. We thank the Province of B.C. for its continued investment in the recovery of the tourism industry. Any support our industry receives right now is positive as we work towards restarting and rebuilding the visitor economy, which is vital to Islanders.”

Successful projects were chosen for their demonstrated tourism benefits to communities and British Columbians, along with new jobs, many of which will provide employment for apprentices, youth, new Canadians, women and First Nations. Eligible applicants included local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations.

“Our laser focus right now is on helping people and businesses during the pandemic, while making sure we’re ready to welcome visitors and explore B.C. when it is safe to do so,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Investing in community-based tourism infrastructure not only creates good-paying jobs, it also helps to rebuild this hard-hit industry and ensures B.C.’s reputation as a world-class travel destination remains strong.”

CERIP’s funding is distributed across five different streams managed by separate partner ministries: Municipal Affairs; Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operators and Rural Development; and Children and Family Development.