Grant funding to boost Lakes District tourism potential

A $9,200 grant to the Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) will help market Burns Lake as a tourist destination.

A $9,200 grant to the Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) will help market Burns Lake as a tourist destination.

Cindy Shelford, LEDA’s economic development officer recently said to Lakes District News that the cooperative tourism marketing funding will assist in the production of a community trail map, a mountain bike brochure and will also help to update a photo image bank.

“These are ongoing projects that we are working on,” Shelford said.

“We started on the projects last fall but we need to make sure that this a good quality project and because LEDA lost funding from the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and the Village of Burns Lake this year and I am now only working part time with LEDA, we said to Northern B.C. Tourism that we needed assistance with this project,” Shelford said.

As reported in the Lakes District News edition of Jan. 25, 2012 the Village of Burns Lake and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako’s area B, Burns Lake rural both decided not to renew LEDA’s funding agreement for 2012.

The village contributes $46,613 and RDBN’s area B contributes $62,988 to local economic development initiatives annually.

Of this, $60,000 went toward funding LEDA, $20,000 goes to tourism coordination and management in the Lakes District and $29,601 is for community economic development grants.

As a result of the funding cuts, and LEDA’s request for help, Shelford said that LEDA is now working on the project in conjunction with Clint Fraser, from the Northern B.C. Tourism Association.

Shelford said the project is in the process of being reconfigured and updated.

The community trail map, once complete, will include local recreation sites as well as trails.

“We will also be working on promotional brochures to showcase the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Park on Boer Mountain.”

As part of the project, LEDA is also in the process of developing a local photo image bank.

“We already have a small photo image bank and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako also has a small one, so we are looking at potentially combining these.” Shelford explained that local residents will be able to submit photos to the photo image bank, which will then possibly be used for future promotional initiatives for the area.

“People will be able to submit their photos, and we may also have someone go out and take some photos for us. Photos  will be able to be added to the image bank at any time. They are a valuable asset and are a good resource to attract people to the area.”

“An example would be movie producers looking to scout a location to film, so we could send them photos of the local area. Another example would be for use in promotional brochures or for people looking to relocate to Burns Lake and want to see some images of the area first. We are still in the process of working out all the details,” Shelford said.

The image bank will likely be accessible from a website, however Shelford said this is still in the process of being developed.

LEDA is also in the process of finding a new location to operate from.

As reported in the Lakes District News edition of March 7, 2012, LEDA moved out of the Forestry Heritage Centre they shared with the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce for two years.

Brenda Hiebert LEDA chair said, “LEDA has moved out of the Forestry Heritage Centre as of Feb. 29 2012. With our funding being cut we have to watch the dollars we have left and the expenses at the Forestry Heritage Centre were just to great for us.” While Hiebert did not want to comment further on the reasons for the move, she did say that the Village of Burns Lake was not renewing LEDA’s tenancy agreement for 2012.

“We are currently without a home, however we are actively looking for affordable space. Our phone is being call forwarded to Cindy [Shelford] and our possessions are in storage for now until we find some new office space.”

Shelford said two different downtown Burns Lake locations are currently being looked at as potential office space for LEDA.

“We are negotiating for a good location which will be central to the downtown area,” Shelford added.