In the heart of British Columbia, Vancouver Island and the Coast offer an array of breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities. From the rugged beauty of Tofino to the historical charm of Victoria, this region has long been a haven for residents and tourists alike. But how can we ensure these areas continue to thrive and evolve? Enter PacifiCan, the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbia. In a recent announcement, Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for PacifiCan, unveiled a groundbreaking allocation of over $2.6 million in funding. This financial infusion will fuel 16 projects across Vancouver Island and the Coast, with the aim of revitalizing public spaces and enhancing tourism experiences. Let’s dive into the details of this exciting development and discover how it will shape the future of these communities.
The Significance of Public Spaces
Why Public Spaces Matter
Public spaces are the lifeblood of any community. They serve as gathering points, places of recreation, and hubs of cultural exchange. But their importance extends beyond leisure and entertainment. Public spaces are where communities come together to celebrate, share stories, and create lasting memories. They are essential for fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity among residents and visitors alike.
Bolstering Local Businesses
Thriving businesses are the backbone of any prosperous community. Public spaces, when well-maintained and attractive, draw in visitors, creating opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Whether it’s a café near a picturesque park or a souvenir shop in a bustling downtown square, these businesses benefit from increased foot traffic generated by vibrant public spaces.
Economic Vitality and Job Creation
Investing in public spaces goes hand in hand with economic vitality. The creation and revitalization of public areas generate employment opportunities. As projects come to life, they require a skilled workforce, from architects and construction workers to landscapers and event planners. These job opportunities contribute to the economic well-being of the region.
The PacifiCan Initiative: Transforming Communities
A Vision for Vancouver Island and the Coast
PacifiCan, with its vision to drive B.C. forward and establish lasting prosperity, has taken a significant step towards achieving this goal. The recent allocation of funds aims to bring this vision to life by transforming communities through carefully selected projects.
The Breakdown of Funding
The $2.6 million in funding is divided into two key categories: The Canada Community Revitalization Fund and the Tourism Relief Fund. Each serves a distinct purpose in enhancing public spaces and tourism experiences.
Canada Community Revitalization Fund
K’όmoks First Nation – $750,000
A Playground of Inclusion
The K’όmoks First Nation will receive a substantial $750,000 to create a community park and gathering space in Comox, B.C. This project marks a historic milestone as it introduces essential amenities such as a playground, gazebo, washroom, and outdoor kitchen. It will be the first outdoor gathering space for the K’όmoks First Nation, making it a symbol of inclusivity and community pride.
Tourism Relief Fund
Adrena LINE Adventure Tours Ltd. – $99,999
Adding Thrills to Sooke
Adrena LINE Adventure Tours Ltd. is set to build a dual zipline to complement its existing adventure tour offerings in Sooke. This exciting addition promises to attract more visitors, providing an adrenaline rush while creating employment opportunities for local thrill-seekers.
Chims Guest House – $99,999
Cultural Revival in Port Alberni
Chims Guest House in Port Alberni will establish an Indigenous cultural center with the help of this funding. It also aims to revitalize lodgings, offering educational Indigenous experiences to visitors while preserving the region’s rich cultural heritage.
CVS Tours Ltd. – $99,999
Doubling the Charm in Victoria
CVS Tours Ltd. is set to acquire three new double-decker buses for their shuttle service to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This addition is expected to double the number of visitors to the gardens, providing an economic boost to the region.
Forager Education Ltd. – $48,500
Forager Education Ltd. plans to create a virtual reality experience showcasing natural heritage sites throughout British Columbia. This immersive experience aims to encourage tourism and exploration, all while leveraging the power of technology.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority – $549,000
Honoring Lekwungen Culture
Funds will support the establishment of a place in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, dedicated to showcasing Lekwungen culture and history in partnership with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. It’s a step towards preserving and celebrating the rich indigenous heritage of the region.
Infusion Edutainment XR Amusement Park – $420,000
Virtual Reality Unleashed
Infusion Edutainment XR Amusement Park in downtown Victoria is set to expand its virtual reality experience arcade. New content and equipment will enhance the visitor experience, offering a futuristic twist to tourism.
Inter-Island Excursions Ltd. – $18,000
A Heritage Refinish
Inter-Island Excursions Ltd. plans to refinish its heritage boathouse in Tofino and upgrade tourist facilities. This project aims to provide a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for visitors.
KCFN Marina and Campground Inc. – $99,999
A Marine Marvel in Kyuquot
KCFN Marina and Campground Inc. will use funding to build a marine dock in Fair Harbour, attracting marine travel and fishing tourism to the Kyuquot region.
Out There – $44,636
Nelson Island Adventure
Out There intends to upgrade outdoor amenities and visitor facilities on Nelson Island along the Sunshine Coast, enhancing its appeal to adventurers and nature enthusiasts.
Port Eliza Lodge Ltd. – $81,000
Fishing Adventures Reinvented
Port Eliza Lodge Ltd. is set to upgrade fishing vessels and increase guest capacity at a fishing lodge in the Esperanza Inlet near Zeballos, offering a rejuvenated fishing experience.
Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS) – $20,000
Enhancing the Canoe Route
Funding will be used to upgrade the Powell Forest Canoe Route, a popular destination trail in Powell River. This upgrade promises a more immersive and enjoyable journey for canoeing enthusiasts.
Spirit of the West Adventures Ltd. – $65,091
Spirit of the West Adventures Ltd. plans to upgrade campsites and passenger transportation used during their multi-day kayaking tours in Heriot Bay, ensuring a comfortable and unforgettable experience for adventurers.
Sutton Homestead Lodging Ltd. – $16,789
Relaxation in Ucluelet
Sutton Homestead Lodging Ltd. will use funds to purchase a red cedar barrel sauna and electric heater for their remote lodge in Ucluelet, adding a touch of luxury to the lodging experience.
TKD Travel Services for All Inc. – $99,999
Accessible Travel for All
D Travel Services for All Inc. aims to develop travel options for people with disabilities, redesign digital platforms, and expand staffing. This initiative is set to make travel more accessible and enjoyable for all.
Tourism Bowen Island Association – $157,595
A Vision for Bowen Island
Tourism Bowen Island Association will use funding to develop a community-based, 10-year tourism plan and implement wayfinding tools to address gaps in visitor services on Bowen Island, ensuring a seamless and enriching experience for tourists.
Community Well-Being and Prosperity
These 16 projects span a diverse range of initiatives, from cultural preservation to high-tech tourism experiences. Yet, they all share a common goal: to enhance community well-being and prosperity. The benefits ripple through the region, fostering economic opportunities, creating jobs, and enriching the lives of residents and visitors alike.
Communities Touched by Transformation
The positive impact of this funding extends far and wide across Vancouver Island and the Coast. Communities benefiting from these projects include Victoria, Sooke, Port Alberni, Gibsons, Tofino, Kyuquot, Egmont, Courtenay, Powell River, Heriot Bay, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, and Bowen Island. Each will see a transformation that promises to breathe new life into their public spaces and tourism experiences.
For a complete list of projects and detailed information on each, please refer to the background section below.
As Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan aptly puts it, “From unparalleled outdoor adventures and cultural experiences to stunning parks, lakes, and historical sites, Vancouver Island and the Coast of B.C. are exceptional places to visit or reside.” With the recent allocation of funds by PacifiCan, these exceptional places are set to become even more appealing. The infusion of over $2.6 million into 16 transformative projects will unite communities, bolster local businesses, and ensure the continued prosperity of Vancouver Island and the Coastal regions. It’s a testament to the power of investment in public spaces and tourism experiences—a testament to the bright future that awaits these cherished communities.
By attracting more visitors to the area, these projects create opportunities for local businesses to thrive, from cafes to souvenir shops.
The fund aims to assist communities in building and enhancing infrastructure to create safer, greener, and more accessible public spaces.
The creation and revitalization of public spaces require a skilled workforce, leading to employment opportunities in various sectors.
It acknowledges and celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region, promoting inclusivity and understanding.
The goal is to ensure lasting prosperity, economic growth, and community well-being through investment in public spaces and tourism experiences.
For a comprehensive list and detailed information on each project, please refer to the background section below.
Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Receive Over $2.6 Million for Public Space Revitalization and Enhanced Tourism Experiences
Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), has announced an allocation of over $2.6 million in funding from PacifiCan for 16 projects across Vancouver Island and the Coast of British Columbia. This funding comprises $750,000 for one project financed through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund and more than $1.9 million for 15 projects funded through the Tourism Relief Fund.