The newest member of the Province’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), Sun Peaks, received $470,000 last week to boost tourism, increase investment and create jobs.
As a Mountain Resort Municipality, Sun Peaks recently became eligible for the RMI program, and will receive annual funding payments that will allow them to focus on their goal of increasing visitation during the summer and shoulder seasons. This activity will support B.C.’s tourism sector revenue goal of $18 billion by 2016 as well as the Province’s new tourism strategy, ‘Gaining the Edge’.
In 2006, the RMI was developed to assist resort-oriented municipalities maintain and grow robust local and regional tourism economies. The program helps small resort municipalities overcome unique challenges and take advantage of opportunities with a goal of increasing tourist visitation, visitor activities, employment, private investment, municipal tax revenue and the diversification of the municipal tax base.
‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’ identifies tourism as one of the eight sectors critical to the province’s growth.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell said,“Tourism is a significant employer in smaller resort municipalities, so it’s imperative we have this stable funding in place giving communities the power to build on their strengths, increase visitors and create jobs.”
The annual funding to Sun Peaks will be approximately $310,000. The funding announced last week retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011.
“As we celebrate the last 50 years of skiing at Tod Mountain and 20 years as Sun Peaks, we recognize the resort as a world-class destination that draws significant tourism dollars to our region. This funding will allow them to take their success to the next level, which will increase investment and create jobs for local families,” commented Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake.
“The provincial government has recognized the contribution that tourism makes to the provincial economy and resort communities,” said Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine, “Funds available through the Resort Municipality Initiative enable resort-oriented communities to build and expand the attractions that have successfully brought tourists to the region. With these funds, we will grow tourism at Sun Peaks, which benefits our residents and the Kamloops region.”
The 14 municipalities participating in the Resort Municipality Initiative: Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
The Resort Municipality Initiative funding is allocated bi-annually, so that participating municipalities can undertake programs or projects that will encourage visitors to stay longer and visit more often. Projects range from building pedestrian and mountain biking trails, boat launches, and beach improvements, to holding festivals and events.
To find out more about the Resort Municipality Initiative, visit:http://www.ruralbc.gov.bc.ca/about/RMI/RMI_Index.html