Tourism infrastructure upgrades in Kootenay Rockies
In late 2020, Kootenay Rockies Tourism worked collaboratively with communities and stakeholders to identify strong infrastructure projects that would advance the destination development vision and goals, help create jobs, foster economic diversification, and bolster the competitiveness of the tourism destination in the long term.
A total of $2.3 million had been allocated to this region to support the recovery of the tourism sector as part of the Province of BC’s StongerBC Plan Targeted Regional Tourism Development Initiative funds (TRTDI).
“Throughout the pandemic we heard from the tourism sector that it needed investments in tourism infrastructure so it could recover and thrive in the future. These projects are excellent examples of how tourism infrastructure helps more people have access to what the region has to offer, strengthens community connection and experiences, plus creates jobs,” said Melanie Mark, Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “The Kootenay Rockies Tourism region is a trailblazer in creating inclusive communities and exceptional experiences to be celebrated by locals and visitors alike.”
Trail and park upgrades, EV charging stations and historical site enhancements are a few of the projects that have taken place over 2021 in the Kootenay Rockies.
Projects completed or near completion in 2021 include:
Parking lot enhancements at signature mountain biking trail networks: Mountain bike use has been significantly increasing in our region. Recreation Sites and Trails BC has been working in partnership with local trail groups to improve visitor management amenities at popular destination mountain biking trail networks throughout the region to mitigate negative impacts. The Mt. Cartier and Sunnyside Recreation Trail networks in Revelstoke and South Star Recreation Site in Cranbrook have both seen parking area expansions and enhancements to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to those locations.
Waldie Island Trail upgrades: Located in Castlegar, the Waldie Island Trail was developed in 1996 to reclaim the historical heritage of this important stretch of the Columbia River. The 1.5km upgrades, conducted by Castlegar Parks & Trail Society, have now made this section entirely cyclist friendly.
Installation of EV charging stations in Nakusp and New Denver: Through a partnership with Community Energy Association (CEA), two level 2 EV charging stations have been installed at key tourism sites in Nakusp & New Denver. Through the Destination EV Charging program, 8 more charging stations are yet to be installed.
Accessible washrooms, upgrades to trails, boardwalks and access route have been completed in the Winlaw Regional & Nature Park: Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association (KASA) has taken the lead on this accessible infrastructure to improve access to outdoor recreation spaces to all ages and abilities.
Craigellachie railway track construction complete: The Last Spike at Craigellachie site is located alongside the Trans-Canada highway near Revelstoke and managed by the Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society. This historical site attracts visitors to get a glimpse into Canadian Railway History. The railway track repairs have been completed this year.
TRTDI funded projects still underway in the region include Elk River access improvements, a new mountain hut along the Bonnington Traverse, more visitor amenities at trailheads, accessibility features in parks, enhancement to municipal campgrounds, visitor services amenities and additional EV chargers at key tourism sites.
“It is inspiring to see so many organizations in this region taking on projects that really contribute to the exceptional quality of our tourism destination and directly align with the priorities and directions of our Kootenay Rockies Destination Development Strategy. We are pleased to be working closely with these organizations to be able to provide funding support through the TRTDI funds. We look forward to seeing more projects breaking ground and being completed in 2022,” said Kathy Cooper, CEO of Kootenay Rockies Tourism.
The Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC, including the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure program, Destination Development Stream and the Tourism Dependent Communities Initiative. The approved projects must all be completed by March 2023.
e-KNOW file photo
Kootenay Rockies Tourism