More than a dozen Island tourism-based businesses are getting federal funding to prepare for next season.
Major projects include a new park and gathering space in Comox, a virtual reality arcade in Victoria, a new dock in Fair Harbour, and improvements to the Powell Forest Canoe Route.
Harjit Sajjan, Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced over $2.6 million in funding for the BC coast on Thursday.
“From unique outdoor adventure and cultural experiences to breathtaking parks, lakes and heritage sites, Vancouver Island and the Coast of B.C. is a world-class place to visit or call home,” he said in a news release. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting economic development across British Columbia. Investing in shared public spaces and tourism experiences will bring communities together and ensure that the island and coastal regions thrive well into the future.”
The largest single project is the $750,000 park planned for Comox, which will be an outdoor gathering space for the K’όmoks First Nation.
The money for all projects comes through the Canada Community Revitalization and Tourism Relief funds.
All funded projects
Canada Community Revitalization Fund
- K’όmoks First Nation
Funding will help build a community park and gathering space in Comox. New amenities will include a playground, gazebo, washroom, and outdoor kitchen.
Tourism Relief Fund
- Adrena LINE Adventure Tours Ltd.
Funding will go towards constructing a dual-zipline to complement the company’s existing adventure tour offerings in Sooke. The upgraded facilities will help attract visitors to the area and create new jobs.
- Chims Guest House
Funding will help construct an Indigenous cultural centre and revitalize lodgings at the Chims Guest House in Port Alberni. The guest house is an anchor attraction in the Tseshaht First Nation Territory offering educational Indigenous experiences such as plant walks, healing gatherings, and seafood dinners.
- CVS Tours Ltd.
Funding will be used to purchase three new double decker buses for the company’s shuttle service to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. The enhanced fleet will double the number of visitors to the gardens.
- Forager Education Ltd.
Funding will be used to create a virtual reality experience that showcases natural heritage sites throughout B.C. The immersive experience will stimulate tourism and inspire visitors to explore new regions that are rich in art and culture.
- Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
Funding will help establish a place in Victoria’s Inner Harbour to showcase Lekwungen culture and history. The initiative is a partnership with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, and will feature interpretative backdrops and artwork by local Indigenous artists.
- Infusion Edutainment XR Amusement Park
Funding will be used to expand a virtual reality experience arcade – the only one in downtown Victoria – by creating new content and purchasing new equipment. The arcade enhancements will improve the visitor experience and attract a wider tourist base.
- Inter-Island Excursions Ltd.
Funding will go towards refinishing the company’s heritage boathouse in Tofino and upgrading tourist facilities such as parking and washrooms.
- KCFN Marina and Campground Inc.
Funding will help build a marine dock to allow for temporary tie-up and overnight moorage in Fair Harbour. Dock improvements will help attract marine travel and fishing tourism in the Kyuquot region.
- Out There
Funding will be used to upgrade outdoor amenities and visitor facilities, such as an outdoor kitchen and floating dock, to help attract visitors to Nelson Island along the Sunshine Coast.
- Port Eliza Lodge Ltd.
Funding will help upgrade fishing vessels and increase guest capacity at a fishing lodge in the Esperanza Inlet near Zeballos.
- Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS)
Funding will be used upgrade the Powell Forest Canoe Route, a popular destination trail in Powell River. Revitalized trails and facilities will help attract tourists during off-peak visitation months.
- Spirit of the West Adventures Ltd.
Funding will go towards upgrading campsites and passenger transportation used during the company’s multi-day kayaking tours in Heriot Bay.
- Sutton Homestead Lodging Ltd.
Funding will be used to purchase a red cedar barrel sauna and electric heater for the company’s remote lodge in Ucluelet. These upgraded amenities will improve the visitor experience in a tourism-dependent region.
- TKD Travel Services for All Inc.
Funding will help the company develop travel options for people with disabilities, redesign its digital platforms, and expand staffing.
- Tourism Bowen Island Association
Funding will be used to develop a community-based, 10-year tourism plan and implement wayfinding tools to address gaps in visitor services on Bowen Island.