By Andru McCracken

Provincial funding announced in 2018 is aimed at building and diversifying tourism infrastructure in resort municipalities like the Village of Valemount. The village invited local stakeholders and organizations to submit event and project ideas for 2019 to 2022, said Silvio Gislimberti, Valemount’s economic development officer.

“The events and projects ideas were then discussed and evaluated by Tourism Valemount, a committee of

Council, at their October, November and December meetings,” said Gislimberti.

He said the goal is to increase the amount of taxes collected by hotels by 4% through increased hotel stays.

“This strategic goal will be achieved by investing in local tourism infrastructure, organizing local tourism events, and by improving local tourism services,” he said.

The Village received 16 project proposals and Tourism Valemount evaluated the proposals based on provincial criteria and how their goals aligned with regional tourism plans.

Eight projects were chosen to develop tourism infrastructure and were funded for $150,000 per year; and four projects fall into tourism programs category which are funded to the tune of $33,000.

In 2019 $37,500 was awarded to VARDA (Valemount Area Recreation Development Association) to build and maintain bike park trails.

$22,500 went to Valemount Snowmobile Trails Construction also through VARDA.

YORA (the Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association) received $18,000 to improve the 5 Mile bike park shuttle road.

$30,000 was assigned to Swift Mountain road improvements, $5000 for trail and recreation site maintenance and $3000 for trail signage, all through YORA.

The Cranberry Marsh Trail System received $12,000 administered by the village.

The village also received $13,000 for downtown beautification.

Gislimberti said that due to poor weather conditions, the Swift Mountain road improvements have been postponed to 2020 and that unused funds were re-allocated to another approved project: the 5 Mile Bike Shuttle road.

Gislimberti said that in 2020, the Friends of Valemount will manage the projects that had been assigned to YORA.

Services, programs and events that were funded during 2019 included plowing to the Camp Creek Area ($5000, YORA), a spring mountain bike festival ($10,000, VARDA), a fall mountain bike festival ($10,000, VARDA) and a cross-country mountain snowmobile event ($10,000, VARDA starting in 2020).