Crowds gathered on the lake front and at the beach stage for art and music during the first afternoon of the 39th annual Harrison Festival of the Arts in Harrison Hot Springs. Places like Harrison Hot Springs will be getting more money for tourism-related infrastructure projects. (The Observer file)

Province announces $2.5-million boost to increase tourism in B.C.’s resort towns

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Resort municipalities across B.C. will be getting some extra money for infrastructure projects, after the provincial government announced an additional $2.5 million in funds for 2019-20.

The 2019 provincial budget promised to invest $39 million over three years for the resort municipality initiative (RMI), a fund that supports infrastructure projects to increase tourism in resort towns. (These towns include Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.)

In the past, the RMI was not part of the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture’s core budget, although spending averaged about $10.5 million a year. With the changes to the RMI funds, spending will be $13 million a year for 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.

RELATED: Outdoor rink, lagoon improvements on the agenda for Harrison

“B.C.’s tourism industry creates opportunities for people to see shows and pursue recreation right in their own backyards, as well as providing good-paying jobs and economic development,” Lisa Beare, minister of tourism, arts and culture, said in a press release.

“We listened to industry feedback and have made changes that will better support communities in developing larger and more impactful tourism plans.”

In addition to the increased funds, the government has also changed the funding formula in an attempt to put all fourteen municipalities on “equal footing,” with a minimum amount of $100,000 for each community.

The RMI will also now look at the performance of funded projects to increase tourism in the municipality, with the possibility of increased funding for well-performing communities. This will be determined using the hotel tax collected by each municipality, and will be on top of the base funding.

“Each community is based on the investments they’ve made with the RMI money. If that’s showing some return on investment, that’s why you get a performance based lift,” Harrison Hot Springs community services coordinator Rhonda Schell said. “Because they want you to be investing in projects that are actually drawing in tourists.”

Each community had to submit a resort development strategy outlining their desired projects to the province on March 15. Typically, according to Schell, the communities hear back about the results of their funding in mid-summer.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

VIDEO: Masterpieces begin to take shape at Hope’s chainsaw competition

More than a dozen chainsaw carvers, including one 14-year-old carver, taking part in four-day event

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Police identify 45-year-old victim in South Surrey stabbing

Delphin Paul Prestbakmo died at the scene, near 18 Avenue and 152 Street

Most Read