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Feds splash almost $2 million on tourism-related projects in the Sea to Sky

Funding includes $500K for Whistler Sport Legacies to develop its new campground at Olympic Park
MP Patrick Weiler at KIND Yoga in Squamish announcing close to $2 million in federal funds for tourism-related projects in the Sea to Sky.

The federal government has dished out $1.9 million to a suite of tourism-related projects in the Sea to Sky corridor.

“Through projects like these, we are committed to growing our local economy, creating jobs, and attracting the world to Canada’s adventure playground,” said Sea to Sky MP Patrick Weiler in an Oct. 27 release.

In total, 11 projects will receive funding from two sources: $1.4 million from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund going towards four projects, and $500,000 from the Tourism Relief Fund to another seven projects.

From the Community Revitalization Fund, $500,000—the largest single funding amount—went to the Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies Society for its new camping and RV park in Whistler Olympic Park, which opened in July.

Society president and CEO Roger Soane said the federal funding will allow the organization to broaden its camping offerings in the summer months.

“Obviously, as a non-profit organization, we’re trying to diversify our organization so we are less reliant on funding and more reliant on generated revenues,” he said. “[Whistler Olympic] Park is a great winter operation and we’ve been doing very well with our winter program, [but] we wanted to open the park more over summer.”

The campsite, with 20 tent pads and 22 spaces for RV campers, was operating at around 80-per-cent capacity for the two and a half months it was open, said Soane, who added that it was 100-per-cent full on weekends.

“‘That was with very little advertising,” he said. “It was a soft opening because we wanted to see how things would go [and] we were very pleased with the first couple of months.”

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) received $142,416 in funding to go towards revitalizing pedestrian infrastructure at Whistler Olympic Plaza and the Ted Nebbeling Bridge in the village.

From the Tourism Relief Fund stream, the Spearhead Huts Society will receive $99,999, which will help build a well and install solar power at the Kees and Claire Memorial Hut.

Most of the $500,000 in Tourism Relief Fund money went to groups in Squamish; of the seven projects listed, five are in or near Squamish, with activities ranging from yoga to axe throwing.

One of the local groups to receive funding was the Squamish Off Road Cycling Association (SORCA), which was allocated $67,250 to revitalize trail infrastructure and build new trails.

Executive director of SORCA, Ian Lowe, said the association was delighted to receive the funding.

“Sometimes public sector grants are a lot of hoops to jump through, but we were so glad we took the initiative and applied for this grant,” he said.

The funding, which came through last year for 2023 operations, was split between supporting a new trail crew, and building two new trails: Cardrona (opened early in the 2023 season) and Miki’s Extension (due to be opened any time now), both of which are to the east of Alice Lake.

Miki’s Extension doubles as an adaptive trail.

“When we built Miki’s, it wasn’t necessarily built for adaptive riders’ needs in mind, but we learned we had built an incredibly fun bike trail for adaptive riders. So, when we built Miki’s Extension, we did it through the lens of making it equally as much for two wheels as it would be for four wheels or three wheels depending on the adaptive rider’s needs,” said Lowe.

Funding was also allocated to Sloquet Hot Springs for campground upgrades, and to Tourism Pemberton for the revitalization of backcountry infrastructure.