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Posted: July 27, 2015

Kimberley attractions get summer makeover

As Kimberley’s historic Underground Mining Railway is rolling on a busy tourism season, its visitors’ enjoyable experience starts before they even enter the attraction.

Visitors will have no problem finding parking thanks to 50 new stalls that have been added. The parking improvements are part of $50,000 worth of changes being made to the site. A total of $22,000 in Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding has supported this project.

While upgrades are made to the railway attraction, $20,000 in RMI funding has leveraged $120,000 worth of improvements to facilities at Kimberley’s Purcell Soccer Fields. The site played host to the JulyFest Soccer Tournament on July 18-19, 2015. It’s the largest event of its kind in Western Canada with more than 60 teams and 800 participants.

The City of Kimberley is also adding to its mountain biking and trails infrastructure, with more than $60,000 of RMI funding going toward trail development since 2014. This investment is showing great returns already with more than 600 participants who have taken part in trail-based events in 2015 and 200 registrants for the new Ultra Marathon in August.

“These projects will help Kimberley expand its tourism sector and continue to enhance visitors’ experiences in the East Kootenay. The upgrades to these facilities are important to attract visitors to the region. The Resort Municipality Initiative is vital to our growing tourism economy, and I am proud that our government continues to support this program,” stated Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

Mayor Don McCormick
Mayor Don McCormick

“Marketing will get people to visit once, but it is a great experience that brings them back. RMI funding is a key reason why Kimberley’s tourism industry has consistently grown over the last 8 years. RMI funds have enabled the upgrades to the Underground Mining Railway, the new facilities at Purcell Soccer Field and the improvements to our ski racing infrastructure. This funding has taken our visitor experience to a new level,” added City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick.

RMI is a $10.5 million a year program that addresses the unique circumstances of resort-oriented municipalities to develop and enhance local tourism related infrastructure and amenities. Along with Kimberley, communities that participate in the RMI program include Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.

Since 2009, Kimberley has received $682,342 in funding from the RMI program.

Since RMI inception in 2007, over $87.6 million has been invested in tourism infrastructure and programs to support local and regional tourism economies in the 14participating communities.

To keep British Columbia’s economy diverse, strong and growing, since September 2011 the BC Jobs Plan has been building on the strengths of eight of the province’s key sectors using B.C.’s educated and skilled workforce. B.C.’s tourism sector is one of the eight key sectors identified in the BC Jobs Plan, having created more than 132,200 jobs and generated $13.9 billion in revenues throughout the province in 2013.

In 2014, 4.7 million international visitors came to B.C. – a 5.3% increase and nearly a quarter of a million more people than the previous year.

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