Labour study helps Simpcw First Nation get ready to ride

Riders could soon be pedalling down new mountain bike trails in the North Thompson Valley

Simpcw First Nation trail builders Tom (l) and Leon Eustache

Simpcw First Nation trail builders Tom (l) and Leon Eustache

SIMPCW – Riders could soon be pedalling down new mountain bike trails  in the North Thompson Valley, once a study on mountain bike and tourism opportunities in the McBride to Barriere corridor is complete.

The Simpcw First Nation received $45,000 from the B.C. government to identify how Aboriginal communities can participate in the region’s growing mountain bike and tourism industry.

In partnership with the Mountain Bike Tourism Association, the Simpcw First Nation will host trail-building workshops and work with nearby communities to develop a strategy to address skills gaps, training needs and opportunities to promote the region as a mountain biking destination.

“This initiative will provide an opportunity for our community to learn more about mountain bike recreation and tourism. It will provide our members, especially our youth, the opportunity to learn about riding and trail building and build capacity for future community and economic development,” said Simpcw First Nation Councillor Tom Eustache,  “As a rider, mountain biking has made a huge difference in my life for health and fitness. I would like to see our members getting outdoors and reconnecting with our lands and living healthy active lives. Mountain bike recreation and tourism also has the potential to teach people about the Simcpw Nation; about who we are as a people, our culture and heritage and about our lands and territories.”

As part of the project, the Simpcw First Nation have declared Wednesday, June 10, 2015, as Mountain Bike Day in the community just north of Barriere.

The day included workshops for local youth to learn more about mountain biking and trail safety from professional riders, as well as a community dinner followed by a screening of local mountain bike films and discussion of the new research study.

Mountain Bike Tourism Association executive director Martin Littlejohn commented,  “The initiative will assist the Simpcw Nation and the communities throughout the corridor to understand the capacity and human resources required to participate and excel in the mountain bike recreation and tourism industry and provide practical strategies for addressing any gaps or challenges. It will provide a foundation upon which the Simpcw Nation and all the communities and stakeholders throughout the region can collaborate and develop a sustainable tourism industry.”

The project will wrap up in December 2015 with an action plan to develop a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable mountain bike recreation and tourism sector.

Labour Market Partnerships are a component of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships fund for projects that share labour market information and increase employability throughout the province.

Labour Market Partnerships fund projects that support employers, employee and employer associations and communities to develop strategies to deal with worker shortages or changes in the job market.

Projects that provide opportunities for people who are often disadvantaged in the workforce, such as Aboriginal people,  people with disabilities and youth, are encouraged.

“This project will provide local communities with a roadmap for how they can work together to develop a sustainable mountain biking and tourism sector. It’s an investment that will provide local jobs and make our region an even better place to ride and relax,” said Minister of Health, MLA Kamloops-North Thompson Terry Lake.

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP

For more information on the Simpcw First Nation: www.simpcw.com

For more information on the Simpcw First Nation Mountain Biking: www.facebook.com/simpcwmountainbiking