September 8, 2016
Barkerville Historic Town & Park will be able to expand their visitor centre and off-season programming, thanks in part to Northern Development Initiative Trust.
The Trust’s board of directors approved $181,491 in grant funding to support the project at their most recent board meeting.
The historic site is located 81 kilometres east of Quesnel at the end of Highway 26 nestled in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains, and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals from surrounding communities.
The proposed upgrade project will allow Barkerville to take the first steps towards expanding from seasonal to year-round operations, which in turn will contribute to the diversification and sustainability of the local and regional economy. Tourism is a major contributor to the economic health of the area, with Barkerville offering many historical and cultural tourism assets. In 2015, Barkerville hosted 60,000 visitors and will reach close to 65,000 in 2016. Being able to offer more programming and events during the off-season will increase employment and tourism-related activities in the region.
The purpose of upgrading the visitor reception and outdoor activity centre is to be able to provide services such as food, equipment rentals, washrooms, showers, first aid and a place to warm-up in the winter months. Visitors will be encouraged to enjoy backcountry activities and skating on a new outdoor rink.
The Trust’s funding was approved through its Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides a maximum $250,000 grant for projects that significantly strengthen the local economy through a major capital investment.
The Trust’s funding for the Barkerville visitor reception and outdoor activity centre represents approximately 38% of the total project budget of $475,090.
The Trust has also recently funded other projects in Barkerville including the Barkerville Magic Carpet Tube Run and the 2016 Mid-Autumn Moon Chinese Festival.
“Barkerville has long been a hub of economic activity. Things have certainly changed since the days of the Gold Rush in the late 1800s as the town has evolved into a tourism hotspot, but one thing remains the same: the Cariboo is a region of potential and an ideal place for tourism investment. Expanding the capacity of Barkerville Historic Town to host more events and off-season programming will create employment opportunities both in the historic site and throughout the region.”
Evan Saugstad, chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust
“We are excited by the opportunity to impact the regional economically in a new way through this partnership and bring additional activities to citizens in the region and tourists that like to explore in the fall, winter, and spring as well as the summer.”
Don Basserman, chair, Barkerville Heritage Trust
“This year is a remarkable one for tourism in B.C. Over two million international visitors have come to the province in the first six months of 2016 – a 12% increase over last year. Barkerville is a key tourism attraction in Northern B.C. and is experiencing significant growth. It’s great to see the Northern Development Initiative Trust supporting Barkerville to become a year-round destination supporting more jobs and keeping the local economy diverse, strong and growing.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour
“Barkerville is one of my favourite places and truly an amazing site to experience. Ongoing support for this nationally significant heritage resource and tourism attraction will help make sure more people can see all that Barkerville has to offer.”
Coralee Oakes, Cariboo North MLA
“I would like to commend the Northern Development Initiative Trust for moving forward with this project,Barkerville’s rich heritage is part of what makes the riding of Cariboo – Prince George such a great place to visit, and I look forward to touring the upgraded site. Thank you to all those who helped make this happen.”
Todd Doherty, Cariboo-Prince George MP
About Northern Development:
Since 2005, the Trust has used its resources to approve more than $150 million in funding for more than 2,000 projects throughout central and northern B.C. In that time, the Trust has leveraged $1.2 billion in new investment to the region and helped diversify the economy. Today, the Trust is sustainably managed with a capital base in excess of $250 million and two dozen programs and services that foster collaboration, sustainability and diversification in the region’s communities.