The Provincial government is making it rain money on BC’s 14 resort municipalities, dropping $10.5 million with over half a million of those dollars landing on the West Coast.
The money comes from the Province’s resort municipality initiative (RMI), which is designed to help resort-based communities deal with seasonally dependent economies and expand their tourism reach.
Ucluelet will receive $133,861 and Tofino will receive $496,306, according to BC’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. Resort municipalities are mandated to invest their RMI dollars in tourism infrastructure and programs designed to encourage visitation and extend stays.
Tofino’s money is earmarked for special events, trail improvements, beach access, downtown vitalization and civic centre upgrades, according to the release.
Tofino has received about $4.6 million worth of RMI funding since joining the program in 2008 and has spent this money enhancing the community’s visitor experience. Past RMIfunded projects include the public washroom at North Chesterman Beach, the multiple use path, and the Tuff City Bike Park.
“Without the RMI funding, it would be really
difficult for a small community like Tofino to provide these assets for our visitors and local residents,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne.
Ucluelet has received about $1.1 million since joining the program in 2008 and has focused this money on building its natural assets to attract visitors. RMIfunded projects include Wild Pacific Trail developments and improvements to Big Beach, Little Beach, and Terrace Beach. This year’s haul will be steered towards the Wild Pacific Trail, the public boat launch, parking and signage, according to the release.
“The District of Ucluelet is so appreciative of the strategic and practical investment the Ministry has made in our community,” said Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving. “We’re committed to our tourism industry
and the funds will help us produce positive results that benefit not only Ucluelet, but the region as a whole.”
The province has handed out roughly $86 million of RMI money since the program’s inception in 2006, according to the release, which adds BC’s tourism sector employs over 125,000 people and delivers about $13 billion in revenue to the province.
“The Resort Municipality Initiative is designed to help improve and strengthen the economies of these tourism hot spots,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond. “It also means more jobs and ensuring visitors return to the communities for years to come.”