Kayakers take to the waters of Transfer Beach. (Chronicle file photo)

Kayakers take to the waters of Transfer Beach. (Chronicle file photo)

$1.4 million for tourism infrastructure projects in Ladysmith and North Cowichan

North Cowichan and Ladysmith will get $700,000 each

The province is investing almost $1.4 million to develop tourism infrastructure in North Cowichan and Ladysmith.

Almost $700,000 will be coming to North Cowichan, of which $312,000 will be used to build an accessible washroom at Kinsmen Park, almost $174,000 will go towards the development of the access point at Mount Tzouhalem, including parking stalls, an accessible washroom, and signage, $100,000 will be used for lighting and way-finding at Waterwheel Park, and almost $98,000 will go to upgrades at Mount Prevost’s mountain bike trails, including signage.

Another approximately $700,000 is targeted towards projects at Ladysmith’s Transfer Beach Park. The Town of Ladysmith will use the funds to rebuild the Kinsmen and Sportsmen Shelters and build an accessible walkway that connects the shelters with the parking lot.

A portion of the funding is also dedicated to building a protective shelter over the Salish Wind – the traditional hand-carved cedar canoe that acknowledges the traditional unceded territory of the Stz’uminus First Nation people.

Approximately $400,000 in funds have been earmarked for renovations of the accessible washroom at Transfer Beach. The addition of all new touchless fixtures and LED lighting enhancements as part of this much-needed renovation supports sustainability and saves on overall energy costs.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ladysmith’s outdoor spaces have been the safe places where we’ve been able to gather in small groups or simply try and find a quiet moment to ourselves,” Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone said. “We are grateful for this important source of funding that will help us rebuild, adapt and diversify our tourism infrastructure as we continue to move forward with implementation of the Waterfront Area Plan.”

The funding is part of a $19.4 million investment recently announced by the province to support tourism-dependent communities.

Communities were identified as being tourism-dependent based on a combination of criteria, including the collection of the municipality and regional district tax; municipalities with a populations under 25,000 that are located outside of Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District; and have a higher percentage of accommodation sector wages in comparison to total employment wages.

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said he is glad that people in the riding will benefit from this funding, as it will not only support people working in tourism but also help grow the local economy into the future.

“Our communities rely on visitors, and the travel restrictions due to the pandemic have been hard on people,” said Routley.

“Making these investments in tourism infrastructure will create local jobs and provide new and more accessible facilities to ensure everyone can enjoy the beauty of our local parks when it is safe to do so.”

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