Burns Lake could potentially offer an adventure-based tourism program at the College of New Caledonia (CNC).
Dustin Ruth, a CNC spokesperson, confirmed the college is consulting with community stakeholders across the entire college region on the possibility of developing this program.
“At this early stage, CNC is still determining the type of program that would best suit community needs,” said Ruth, adding this process includes identifying prospective students, key fields of study, program length and delivery method.
Burns Lake Mayor Dolores Funk said CNC representatives have already met with her to discuss this potential program, and that she is in “100 per cent support” of it.
“I think CNC is going in a great direction with a program such as this,” said Funk, adding that if Burns Lake were to offer this program, it would have the potential of drawing new residents to the Lakes District.
“There would be a business development component to the program which I hope would encourage students to stay and start businesses, which would in turn help diversify our economy,” added Funk.
Guy Epkens-Shaffer, who’s involved with the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association, agrees with Funk that the program is an “excellent idea.”
“We certainly have a plethora of outdoor wonder within which such a market could be developed,” he said.
Burns Lake, which has solidified itself as a mountain biking destination, began its mountain biking pursuit in 2004 after the village received a $10,000 grant for economic development.
Work to continuously develop trails and attractions, mostly done by local volunteers, has paid off.
In 2010, Bike Magazine published an eight-page photo package calling Burns Lake ‘Canada’s Mountain Bike Nirvana.’
In 2013, Burns Lake became an International Mountain Biking Association-designated ride centre, increasing its visibility in the cycling world. That same year, Burns Lake mountain biking made it onto Explore Magazine’s ‘All-Canadian Bucket List.’
Ruth said more information about the potential program will become available once the college wraps up its consultation process.