Grant bid for tourism plan and mobile unit
At its Oct. 8 meeting, the Burns Lake village council agreed to to apply to the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund (NKDF) for a $47,500 grant to help finance a new tourism plan for the village, and for a mobile visitor centre. The total cost for the two initiatives would be $70,400. The council had discussed the proposals in July and agreed they could be effective ways of drawing more tourists to Burns Lake. Mobile visitor centres – in the form of vans – have been used for several years in Smithers, Prince George and Tofino and are a way of bringing information about local attractions directly to tourists. They work as a solution to the declining popularity of bricks and mortar visitor centres while more tourists access travel information on the internet. Mayor Dolores Funk told council that a mobile centre wouldn’t be needed if Burns Lake was on the Lower Mainland. “[But] in the north, Google maps is not accurate. We have slow bandwidth. People in remote areas don’t necessarily advertise online. It takes the [visitors] centre to [the tourists], wherever they might be. I think it’s well worth it,” she said. The total cost of the mobile centre would be about $38,200, which includes the vehicle and other related expenses. For the new tourism strategy, $30,000 would be the wages for someone to write up the plan and implement it. The village has earmarked $11,000 from the Community Adjustment Fund for the tourism projects and up to $22,900 will be accessed from the Comfor Reserve if the NKDF application is successful. In July, the council had planned to apply for a grant through the Rural Dividend Fund, but that program was suspended on Sept. 19 after an announcement from forestry minister Doug Donaldson.