Rebecca Billard – Lakes District News
Tourism, redevelopment of brown field sites, a second jobs fair and continued work on the fibre supply analysis are some of the initiatives Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs Tourism and Innovation said will help the economic recovery efforts in this region. Bell said the province is continuing to focus its efforts on Burns Lake, following the Babine Forest Products explosion and fire last month. During a media conference held last week, Bell announced that Peter Harrison, the director of partnership marketing for Tourism B.C. will be working on a specific tourism strategy for the Nechako Lakes area. Minister Bell said Harrison had successfully worked on more than 100 individual strategies to boost tourism in other small communities.
“The focus will be on improving tourism opportunities to stimulate economic activity in Burns Lake this summer,” he said. Minister Bell said one project that could be expanded is the annual Big Pig Mountain Bike Festival.
“We could expand the festival activities to cover an entire weekend,” he said. “Working closely with members of the community, business leaders, the Northern British Columbia Tourism Association and Aboriginal Tourism B.C., ministry staff will refresh planning previously undertaken in 2009 through the Province’s Community Tourism Foundations program to help identify any existing tourism development challenges and prioritize opportunities to support the local tourism industry,” Minister Bell said adding that Burns Lake and the entire Lake’s District is recognized by travellers for its unique beauty and its activity based experiences such as mountain biking.
When asked how much of an impact increased tourism to the area will have on economic recovery, Minister Bell said he didn’t feel it was a final solution, but indicated it would be a step forward in economic recovery efforts.