2012-The Village of McBride, located in the scenic Robson Valley, developed a comprehensive tourism plan for the region in 2008 to attract visitors to the valley and to support healthy living initiatives for residents. At the same time, the Village continued to face constraints in supporting expansion of local industrial activity or residential development due to the community's lack of wastewater treatment capacity.
In order to address these constraints to community development, and to build further opportunities supporting tourism and healthy living, the Village of McBride continued a further phase of its multi-year eco-sensitive wastewater treatment project that culminated with the grand opening of the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Park in August 2011. At the grand opening, McBride residents and local businesses gathered at the banks of the Fraser River to celebrate the completion of the village's new wastewater treatment system, which features innovative green technology never used before in Canada.
By treating wastewater so it can support a wetland habitat for wildlife and eventually a lake, the project created an opportunity to establish the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Park, a new recreational resource for residents and tourists. By turning sewage into clear wastewater, the project removed the threat of spillage into the Fraser River and has enabled the community to expand its industrial development park as a result.
This project involved the building of a new visitor information area along Highway 16 that includes landscaping and parking for vehicles, benches, picnic tables, an information kiosk, and public washrooms. The information kiosk promotes local and regional trails, as well as local businesses and accommodations with a special focus on retaining visitors.
The tourism infrastructure project acts on the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition strategy for the development of the regional tourism industry. One of the goals of this project is to improve highway services for travelers along Highway 16. This project is very much aligned with this goal by building a rest stop that provides recreation opportunites and information regarding the region.
This project is part of a multi-year development that has been supported through two additional investments by Northern Development for Village of McBride projects:
"The project presented an opportunity for the local small businesses to promote themselves and to keep people employed throughout the winter months. Some of them took advantage of the advertising opportunities and use the site to showcase their skill."
Margaret Graine, Economic Development Officer, Village of McBride
"The Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Park is a recreational resource for the community that showcases a unique eco-sensitive green technology never used before in the entire country. This puts our valley on the map in a very significant way."
Mike Frazier, Mayor, Village of McBride
"I’m absolutely thrilled to be representing the Gaglardi family on this very special day. Bob Gaglardi founded the Sandman Company in 1967. Our company has very emotional attachment to properties in the north and communities like McBride. The Gaglardi family very firmly believes in community involvement, sponsoring events such as this and using our resources to support such projects. Next year you will see us back again."
Kevin White, Director of Operations, Sandman Corporation
McBride has embarked on the sustainable path to economic recovery. A number of projects that support job creation have been identified, and the community has proceeded in securing critical funding in order to move a number of initiatives forward. Consistent employment opportunities are needed in the immediate future to retain the local workforce while economic development efforts are concentrated on new business attraction and long-term diversification of the Robson Valley and McBride's economy.
This tourism infrastructure project has provided a number of unemployed McBride residents with meaningful work and further skills development while also producing an asset for the community that will provide recreational options for tourists and residents in the long term.