Favourable winds are blowing for marine tourism along B.C.’s North Coast this year as two projects get underway that will help diversify the local economy.
A major boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte and a marine ocean boating tourism marketing initiative will provide new incentives and infrastructure for boating and sailing enthusiasts keen on exploring B.C.’s world-class Inside Passage, North Coast and Haida Gwaii.
Northern Development has approved $270,000 in grant funding to support both projects:
• $250,000 for the Village of Queen Charlotte’s boat launch upgrade
• $20,000 for B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association marine tourism marketing plan
The boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte ensures residents and visitors to Haida Gwaii can enjoy a safe and accessible marine entry-point to the islands’ gateway community.
The marine tourism marketing plan is designed to promote B.C. coastal waters as a world-class destination.
The plan includes a website to lure visitors and provide vacation planning services, including online reservations, boating routes, theme itineraries, safe sailing information, on-shore amenities, and activities guides and environmental best practices.
Northern Development’s grant for the boat launch project was approved through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, while the B.C. Ocean Boating marketing plan grant was approved through the Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Haida Gwaii has been chosen as one of National Geographic’s 20 Best Trips in 2015. This stunning part of B.C. is the travel destination for people from around the world, and we are pleased that Northern Development is providing funding for the Village of Queen Charlotte boat launch upgrade and related projects. Adding to the quality of the visitor experience encourages people to keep coming to this world-class tourism destination and helps ensure we keep B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing.”
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State of Tourism and Small Business –
“Haida Gwaii’s enterprising small-business operators can showcase their world-class services and spectacular natural attractions to prospective visitors around the world via the new AHOYBC.com website. It provides a window of options – themed itineraries, reservations, boating and sailing information – to spark people’s imagination and add Haida Gwaii to their destination bucket list.”
Jennifer Rice, MLA, North Coast –
“Marine tourism marketing and infrastructure improvements are important to the diversification of the north coast and Haida Gwaii economies. Located in the emerald sea, Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park are renowned gems that can be better showcased to boating tourists with improved marine facilities and marketing support. This funding not only supports economic development but also improves the quality of life for coastal communities who have a long-standing seafaring way of life.”
Nathan Cullen, Member of Parliament for Skeena Bulkley Valley –
“Haida Gwaii and the North Coast of B.C. are beautiful areas that need to be showcased to the world. Tourism is an important economic driver on Haida Gwaii, these two grants are a great way to increase tourist traffic and improve infrastructure for locals, while also diversifying the economy on the islands. The Northern Development Initiative Trust is an excellent resource for Northern B.C., I appreciate their work to create a strong and vibrant Northern economy.”
Greg Martin, Mayor, Village of Queen Charlotte –
”Haida Gwaii offers a spectacular marine environment with endless recreational opportunities. Every year countless visitors travel to our islands with their own boats and our boat ramp provides the only link between land and water for the entire southern half of Graham Island. The boat ramp improvements combined with the new marketing strategy will enhance and increase marine based recreation for residents and visitors.”
Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development –
“B.C.’s stunning North Coast and Haida Gwaii are world-class tourism destinations. These projects will make them more accessible for locals familiar with the area, and lure new visitors to the region, supporting local economic diversification.”
Michael McLaughlin, AHOY BC project manager –
“AHOY BC has given top priority to attracting more visitors to Haida Gwaii and the North Coast. These regions will become better known by boaters and their immense appeal will draw boaters. The creation of additional moorage capacity in Queen Charlotte is very timely”
• Tourism B.C. statistics show the average tourist stopping in a community on a small boat spends $150 per person per day, and $300 per person per day on a large boat
• In 2013, approximately 10,818 tourists visited Haida Gwaii. The boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte will provide a safe entry-point for residents and visitors to access Skidegate Inlet, Gwaii Haanas National Park and the west coast
• The B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association surveyed 15 marina and harbor operators in the north coast-Haida Gwaii region, and all responded they would benefit from additional marine traffic
• Since 2005, Northern Development has approved $128 million to 1,702 economic development projects throughout central and northern B.C.
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Businesses across the region are feeling the love this year as Northern Development’s Small Town Love program expands to include up to 10 more communities.
Northern Development and Small Town Love partner Amy Quarry were in Northeast B.C. in March to begin recruiting local, independently owned businesses to join the Small Town Love movement in Dawson Creek, Hudson’s Hope and Pouce Coupe.
All three municipalities will soon have their own web portals featuring first-rate storytelling and photography to get the word out about the amazing independently owned businesses in the each community.
www.LoveDawsonCreek.com, www.LoveHudsonsHope.com and www.LovePouceCoupe.com will soon join 17 existing community portals that feature nearly 1,000 businesses from Valemount to Haida Gwaii and points in between.
As well, on April 1, Downtown Prince George will host a Love Downtown PG launch event at Two Rivers Art Gallery from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. that will feature many local businesses that are already a part of the www.lovedowntownpg.com web portal.
Entrepreneur Amy Quarry created and launched the original “Small Town Love” shop local initiative in the City of Quesnel.
With more than 50 local Quesnel-based businesses working collaboratively under the “Small Town Love” marketing brand, Quarry’s original program was extremely well received and highly successful.
Northern Development partnered with Quarry in 2013 to expand the program to additional communities throughout the region.
In addition to Dawson Creek, Hudson’s Hope and Pouce Coupe, the program will be expanded this year to also include the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Terrace, Wells, Taylor and possibly others.
Independently-owned businesses in Dawson Creek, Hudson’s Hope and Pouce Coupe not already signed up to participate in the program are encouraged to apply by April 11th on their community website or contact their local economic development officer or chamber of commerce to learn more about the program.
Northern Development will also be offering a Small Town Love orientation workshop to businesses in the northwest starting in Hazelton April 21, Kitimat April 22 and Terrace April 23.
“With almost 1000 businesses participating in 17 communities across northern BC, the Small Town Love network continues to grow. Northern Development’s role is to build a stronger north and the Small Town Love program creates greater awareness for local small businesses, encourages more local shopping and keeps more money in the local economy,” said Renata King, Director, Business Development, Northern Development.
“It has been very rewarding to see so many unique entrepreneurs catch the Small Town Love vision and join the movement. I am so grateful to be able to work with Northern Development and our local community champions to help support our northern small business communities,” said Amy Quarry, founder, Small Town Love.
Love Dawson Creek Contact:
Love Hudson’s Hope Contact:
Love Pouce Coupe Contact:
Love Downtown Prince George Contact:
The Hazeltons will soon be home to a new recreation centre thanks in part to financial support from Northern Development.
The ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project (also known as the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre) is a two-phase initiative to build a recreation centre with a proposed completion date of April 2017.
At its most recent board meeting, Northern Development approved a $250,000 grant to support the development of the project. The Upper Skeena Recreation Centre will be built on the same site as the existing Ken Trombley Arena, enabling community members to continue using it until construction is complete.
The recreation centre is being built to promote more active, healthy lifestyles for residents who live in and around New Hazelton, Hazelton and the surrounding communities. The existing 42-year-old arena has exceeded its functional lifespan. With no insulation and a failing exterior cladding, the ice surface at the existing arena is no longer maintainable.
As well, the new recreation centre will become the communities’ primary venue for attracting tournaments and other events that will support the local economy.
Phase one of the project includes a 3,575 square metre facility, which can accommodate seating for 500 spectators. Phase one will also include the construction of dressing rooms, referee rooms, administration offices, a first aid room, a rental room, maintenance/storage areas, mechanical/electrical spaces, a kitchen concession, public washrooms, a viewing/banquet area, as well as a ticketing/entrance/concourse area.
Phase two of the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project is to remove the existing A-frame roof structure over the current ice sheet portion of the building and replace it with a new wall/roof structure above the repurposed floor space. Proposed amenities include a gymnasium and dry floor area, circular indoor walking track, fitness/exercise centre, climbing wall, senior centre space and meeting rooms.
Funding for the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project was approved through Northern Development’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program. This program provides up to $250,000 in funding for municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area for projects that significantly strengthen the local economy via a major capital investment.
Once other funding sources are secured, construction on the project is expected to begin in spring 2016.
District of New Hazelton Mayor Gail Lowry –
“Northern Development has made a critically important contribution to the building of a much needed recreation centre for the Hazeltons, a contribution which will have an impact beyond recreation and will extend to improvements in the physical and mental health of the whole region.”
Village of Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland –
“The investment by Northern Development is strategically essential for the success of the project, and will advance the Heart of the Hazeltons fundraising efforts and assist in addressing employment and economic development issues that have long challenged the region.”
• Northern Development approved $250,000 for the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project, through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program
• A 2007 structural condition report recommended the existing Ken Trombley Arena discontinue operations in 2013
• The arena is proposed to be built primarily of wood, consistent with the Wood First Act, brought into legislation in B.C. in 2009, which requires wood to be considered as the primary building material in all new publicly-funded buildings
• The community has forecast additional revenues of $1,436,530 over the first five years of operation of the new arena. The revenues are proposed to be generated through facility rentals, admissions, program registration, skate sharpening, banquet and community room rentals, commissary, advertising and vending machines
• Last year, Northern Development approved 19 projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, with a combined total funding commitment of $3,848,083.
Northern Development Initiative Trust
How much does it cost to own a home in Terrace? What’s the most expensive city in northern B.C. to live in? What’s the least expensive?
It’s March and that means it’s time for Northern Development to release its annual info graphic on northern B.C.’s housing market. Check out this year’s housing cost comparisons:
The Business Façade Improvement program provides annual grant funding for municipalities and regional districts located within the Northeast, Northwest, Prince George, and Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet regions that participate in the combined regional development accounts. Annual funding of $20,000 is available to each municipality and regional district to enhance economic development by encouraging private sector investment in businesses façade improvements. Municipalities and regional districts applying to the program are required to develop and submit their business façade improvement plan/guidelines, which will give direction to local business owners on the eligibility criteria to obtain the business façade improvement grant.
Applications for the Business Facade Improvement program are accepted annually and must be submitted by November 30th each year to access the following year’s funding (i.e. application submitted November 30, 2014 for 2015 approval and disbursement).
For more information about the Business Facade Improvement program, visit the program page here.
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