Provincial funding will be allocated to two projects in Powell River.
Projects include upgrades to the Willingdon Beach campsite washrooms and showers, and a multi-use pathway along Abbotsford Street to Willingdon Beach. According to a document from the provincial government, the campsite upgrades will amount to $673,000 from the province. The pathway contribution will be $242,402.
According to a City of Powell River media release, the two tourism enhancement project grants cover 100 per cent of the cost of the projects. The washroom building at Willingdon Beach will be replaced. When completed, the washroom will provide more shower and washroom space, will be fully accessible, will accommodate additional space required due to COVID-19 restrictions and include a laundry area.
“The existing building, when originally built, served the campsite well and the city thanks the Rotary Club for donating it,” stated city director of parks, recreation and culture Ray Boogaards. “If we want campers to continue to make the campsite their vacation destination and attract more campers in the off-season, it needed to be updated.”
The release stated the campsite is an important revenue source for the city, bringing in $339,884 in 2020, even with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Regarding construction of three multi-use trails, the first phase is a multi-accessible trail from the west end of Abbotsford Street to Willingdon Beach. The project will be a 1.25-kilometre combined shared road and a 750-metre multi-use trail to end up at Willingdon Beach park. Phase two is a fully accessible trail through the upper portion of Willingdon Beach Park to the existing Willingdon Beach trail, which links Townsite, allowing persons in wheelchairs and using walkers to access the park, washroom facilities and playground area. The third phase will extend the far end of the Willingdon Beach trail through to Townsite, according to the release, connecting the old golf course lands to Westview.
Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons, in a media release, stated he is welcoming funding that will develop tourism infrastructure, attract visitors and provide good-paying jobs in Powell River, Gibsons and Sechelt.
“So many people up and down the Sunshine Coast rely on tourism and related businesses to support themselves and their families,” stated Simons. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on our communities because of this. These investments will help make our region even more attractive to potential visitors as soon as we’re able to welcome them again and keep our industry strong for years to come.”
This funding is part of a $19.4 million investment recently announced by the BC government to support tourism-dependent communities. Simons stated he is glad people in his constituency 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.