Revelstoke, B.C. – The City has received approval from the Province for a new 3-year Resort Development Strategy (RDS), which will allocate over 2.6 million in funding for the next three years to projects and events that support the tourism industry and benefit the community. The development of the new RDS was led by the Tourism Initiatives Committee with input from local tourism stakeholders, facilitated by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. City Council made a resolution to approve the Strategy on May 28th, after which it was submitted to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for review. The Province sent notice of their final approval on June 18th, 2019.
Last year, the Province of BC announced that it was extending the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) for a further three years (2019 to 2021). In April the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced a new funding formula that would provide a minimum of $692,000 annually to Revelstoke, one of 14 Resort Municipalities. Additionally, a new annual performance-based component recognizes increases in tourism activity measured by accommodation stays, which for 2019 has boosted Revelstoke’s payment for 2019 to $747,000. For the past three years, the annual funding available to Revelstoke through the RMI program has averaged approximately $550,000 per year. RMI funding is now part of the core budget for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, providing communities with the certainty they need to plan over the long term for the development of tourism infrastructure, as well as on-going support for key events and festivals.
The new strategy commits to on-going support for the tourism industry via alignment with other plans such as Highway 1 Corridor Destination Development Plan for the region and the Revelstoke Destination Tourism Strategy. Highlights for infrastructure project funding under the new strategy include:
• Wayfinding Signage within and around the City to direct visitors to parking, cultural attractions, and recreation amenities
• New/additional shuttle buses to transport visitors, residents and workers to the resort
• Williamson Lake Park upgrades such as new docks, upgraded campground facilities, and improved accessibility
• Implementation of the Trail Strategy within the City creating safe active travel routes for commuters/visitors connecting downtown, neighborhoods, and key visitor attractions
• Improvements to visitor arrival areas including washrooms, shade structures, picnic tables, drinking water, Sani-dump services, and parking
• Upgrading access to the water for recreation and watersports
Local tourism stakeholders are invited to submit proposals that align with the priorities and goals established by the new Strategy for additional tourism infrastructure, including:
• Recreation trails and infrastructure outside of the City
• Arts and culture infrastructure, heritage exhibits and downtown beautification In addition to spending on infrastructure, up to 30% of RMI funds can now be spent on tourism programs, services and events. Event organizers, arts and culture groups, and recreation groups can also apply for RMI funds to support:
• Events, festivals, animation, tourism services and programming
Mayor Gary Sulz noted, “The Resort Municipality Initiative has provided immense benefits to the community, helping to upgrade facilities and parks, build trail networks, and provide better services to our visitors. The tourism industry is becoming an increasingly important part of the local economy and this project helps provide some relief to taxpayers as well as many new recreational opportunities to our residents.”
An online application form can be found on the City’s website, along with program guidelines that specify what the funds can be used for, at https://revelstoke.ca/1568/Resort-Municipality-Initiatives-RMI. Review and approval of the first intake of applications for 2019 will take place over the next month, with applications due on Tuesday, August 13th at 4:00 PM.