As part of StrongerBC: British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Plan,
the Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative is one of three infrastructure investment programs.
The Kootenay Rockies region received $2.3 million to create
employment opportunities, attract new businesses and increase
economic diversification with communities.
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN KOOTENAY ROCKIES GROWS WITH STRONGERBC INVESTMENT
Ten new destination and tourism infrastructure developments are underway in the Kootenay Rockies Tourism region with support from the Province.
“We know recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector are critically important. This fund creates new tourism infrastructure, which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development,” said *Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Building on the calls to action from the sector, this fund invests in initiatives that link communities together and encourages visitors to spend time at several destinations within a region.” (*BC Minister from 2020-2022)
The Kootenay Rockies Tourism region, in partnership with community destination management organizations, local and regional governments, First Nations, non-profits and other partners, have worked together to identify initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.
Initiatives underway in the Kootenay Rockies include developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the region at key attractions and visitor sites, improving and sustaining access to the Elk River for commercial and recreation users, and developing municipal campgrounds along the scenic Slocan Valley.
Examples in other parts of the province include improvement of trail systems throughout a region for hiking, Nordic skiing or mountain biking, self-guided tour signage to highlight agri-tourism areas and a series of Indigenous landmarks throughout a region. The Province has provided $2.3 million toward these projects.
“The Targeted Regional Tourism Development funding has presented an opportunity to work with the Province and regional partners to strategically position our region for a better future by addressing some important infrastructure gaps. It will also help ensure improved amenities are in place to handle growth and mitigate the impact of increased visitation,” said Kathy Cooper, CEO, Kootenay Rockies Tourism.
The Targeted Regional Tourism Development Initiative (TRTDI) is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC, including the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure program, Destination Development and the Tourism Dependent Communities Initiative.
The approved projects must be completed by March 2024.
Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston
“People across the Kootenays are ready to come back stronger than ever before. Tourism is an important part of the Kootenays and by investing in projects and organizations that will attract more visitors to our incredible region, we will recover quickly and build a thriving region for years to come.”
Chad Hughes, Interim Executive Director, Elk River Alliance
“River access improvements will boost the Elk Valley’s tourism and recreation economy by allowing improved safe access to world-class fly-fishing, paddle boating and whitewater rafting. The improved amenities and educational opportunities will assist in the safeguarding of the river and create a culture of stewardship with our river users.”
Projects completed to-date:
Waldie Island Trail upgrades
Castlegar – The Waldie Island Trail was developed in 1996 to reclaim the historical heritage of this important stretch of the Columbia River. The 1.5km upgrades, conducted by Castlegar Parks & Trail Society, have now made this section entirely cyclist friendly.
EV Charging Installations
Kimberley / Nakusp / New Denver – Through a partnership with Community Energy Association, two level 2 EV charging stations have been installed at key tourism sites in Nakusp and New Denver. A level 2 EV charging station was also installed at the Marysville Eco Park in Kimberley. Through the Destination EV Charging program, more charging stations are yet to be installed.
Old Coach Trail upgrades
Radium Hot Springs – Upgrades to a portion of this trail provide important user amenities and improves accessibility. Visitor amenities include interpretive signage, bike fix it stations, improved trail surface and parking. The interpretive signage included cultural and ecological points of interest along the trail in addition to trail safety and user information. The parking lot capacity was increased to accommodate more visitors during peak times.
CAMPGROUND AMENITY IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SLOCAN VALLEY
NATURE PARK UPGRADES
This collaborative project between the villages of Slocan, New Denver and Silverton seeks to enhance the camping experiences and increase capacity throughout the Slocan Valley.
Centennial Campground in New Denver completed installation of a new septic system, an automatic pay system, a sani-dump station, a winterized washroom building and signage.
In addition, the Silverton Municipal Lakeside Campground received upgrades to their camp-host and washroom building.
The Cottonwood Lake Regional Park comprises 8.2 hectares (20.3 acres) of land and is located south of the city of Nelson along Highway 6 toward Salmo. This park is now home to two sets of universally designed pit toilets, picnic tables, trail enhancements and stunning viewing platforms.
The Winlaw Regional and Nature Park is located approximately 600 km north of the Winlaw bridge on the west shore of the Slocan River. Comprised of 9.2 hectares (22.7 acres), the park is designated as a waterfront access regional park. Upgrades included accessible washrooms and picnic area, and universally designed wayfinding signage.
Parking Lot Enhancements
Mountain bike use has significantly grown in the region. Recreation Sites and Trails BC has been working in partnership with local trail groups to improve visitor management amenities at popular destination mountain biking trail networks throughout the region to mitigate negative impacts. Mount 7 in Golden, Mt. Swansea in Invermere, Bootleg Mountain in Kimberley and Merry Creek in Nelson have all had parking area expansions and enhancements done in 2022 to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to those locations. The Mt. Cartier & Sunnyside Recreation Trail in Revelstoke have seen parking area expansions and trail work at Keystone Standard Basin has made the trail a more suitable gradient and increased its sustainability. The South Star Recreation Site in Cranbrook has also received parking area expansions and enhancements to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to those locations. Lastly, trail work at Summit-Rosebery connecting New Denver and Nakusp has also been completed with a bypass trail and signage.
Craigellachie Last Spike Historic Site
The Last Spike at Craigellachie site is located alongside the Trans-Canada Highway near Revelstoke and managed by the Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society. The historical site attracts visitors to get a glimpse into Canadian Railway history. Railway track repairs have been completed as well as necessary structural improvements to the site buildings including foundation and roof repairs.