In 2013, the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) was invited by the International Mountain Bicycling Association to apply for a ride centre status.
Burns Lake was awarded a bronze ride centre designation, making it the first community in Canada to be awarded this title. This designation is awarded to communities that offer all the amenities a mountain biker would look for when choosing a destination.
The idea of having signage up on Hwy. 16 promoting this title has already been discussed by council in the past.
Council brought up this idea on a Sept. 16, 2014, regular meeting with the resolution that coun. Christopher Beach would work with staff to explore signage opportunities.
“Since we got the title of Canada’s first ride centre, other communities have gotten it, but in that first year we were in major bike magazines; We need to do something to promote what we have,” said Beach during the budget meeting of March 3, 2015.
Councillor Susan Schienbein said she has also been an advocate for signage in the community. However, she expressed concern that placing signage on Hwy. 16 right now could be in conflict with the re-branding of the town.
The village’s economic development department has been working on the re-branding of the Village of Burns Lake as a way of highlighting the unique aspects of the town and attract more visitors and residents. Signage is one of the items that will be addressed during implementation of the branding and marketing strategy. Krystin St. Jean, Economic Development Officer for the village, said she plans to have Burns Lake re-branded by the end of 2015, with implementation starting 2016.
“Do we really want to be spending on signage and then come up with our re-branding next year and have a sign that maybe doesn’t fit to how we want to brand ourselves,” asked Schienbein during the budget meeting.
Beach said he does not think signage for the mountain biking trails would be in conflict with the re-branding of Burns Lake.
During the budget meeting of March 3, 2015, council passed a resolution to place two signs on Hwy. 16, stating that the maximum contribution would be set at $2000.
One sign will be placed 30 kms west of Burns Lake at the field by Baker Airport. Staff is working to determine the best location to place the second sign east of town as there is an opportunity to use existing signage infrastructure located approximately 50 kms from Burns Lake. If that opportunity does not work out, then staff will begin exploring placing the sign on private property.
Staff is also working on securing alternative funding sources that will match the village’s contribution. Once that is completed, staff will work with the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association on designing the signage before having it printed and installed.
“Often people who drive through our town don’t know what the town is known for, and something like this [signage] might get them to stop,” said Mayor Luke Strimbold. “Even if people are not interested in mountain biking, something like this [signage] would make people think we have other recreation options to offer. The signage is also important to celebrate the success that this group [BLMBA] has achieved.”