Situated across from Alaska's Misty Fjords National Park and at the end of the Portland Canal, Stewart, BC is a unique border town attracting tourists from every corner of the world. Visitors as well as Stewart's four hundred residents enjoy a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities including world-class heli-skiing, grizzly bear watching, ancient ice glaciers, and action packed north coast ocean fishing charters.
To enhance the community's main street while also enhancing Stewart's local trail network that allows residents and visitors to walk along the tidal flats, the municipality undertook major upgrades to local trails, developed a new campground, and beautified the mainstreet in 2009 and 2010. This was a major project during difficult economic times for the community, helping create a number of employment opportunities that also included skills development training in trades such as carpentry to help residents diversify their skill sets.
This project included the creation of a new treed green space in the downtown core with added picnic areas and footpaths. The municipality also upgraded sidewalks along the main street for easier accessibility, constructed flower boxes, benches, picnic tables, covered shelters, cement areas for the placement of picnic tables, and added information kiosks that provide local information and give a sense of Stewart's history. New picnic areas and campsites were added to the municipal campground and a new nature trail was created with interpretive signs and benches.
"Through the support of Northern Development, six local residents were hired to re-establish and revitalize 30km of trail systems, bridges and boardwalks in our community. Furthermore, reprinting of our trail brochure was made possible through funding made available from Northern Development which brought additional awareness of our community to visitors. This has had a positive impact on our community from various perspectives - economically, culturally as well as from a recreational perspective."
Tarra Barker, Administrative Assistant, District of Stewart
Positive Economic Impacts in Stewart
By implementing these improvements the District of Stewart is helping to support local businesses along its beautified main street, while also providing tourists with trail connectivity from the town to its campground. By undertaking these improvements to community infrastructure, the municipality is helping to retain visitors in Stewart with an effort to indirectly increase the tourist dollars being spent in local businesses within the community.
The reputation of the trails, the friendly locals, and beautiful scenery of the area has attracted tourists from all around the world, and has had a positive economic impact on many areas including hotels, restaurants, and local shops. While construction was taking place, the municipality was able to provide much needed employment opportunities for ten local workers during the completion of the project, and since the completion of the enhancements, five businesses have expanded creating six additional jobs that are indirectly related to the project.
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