The future looks very bright for economic development opportunities in the tourism sector for Tumbler Ridge. Once again, Tumbler Ridge has become the focus of investment for developers looking to capitalize on the current economic climate in British Columbia. These developments will enhance the quality of life for all of those who live and play in this beautiful part of the province.
Northern Recreational Developments (NRD) is a prime example of such a developer. Owned and operated by local resident Stacey Lajeunesse, NRD has been able to make some significant inroads into the local tourism market by working with BC Parks and the BC Forest Service. ?These folks have been absolutely wonderful to work with?, says Lajeunesse, ?and I want people to know just how much effort these local ministries have put into maintaining the quality of the infrastructures we have come to enjoy in the region. We have friends in the Parks and Forest Ministries who sincerely love this area who have really gone to great lengths to ensure our lasting heritage. People need to appreciate the struggles these folks go through when our provincial governments cutback budgets?.
BC Parks representatives Rob Bressette and Glen Wilson from Fort St. John, along with Al Rodine and Rob Arisman with the Ministry of Forests in Dawson Creek have all been strong advocates for Tumbler Ridge over the years. ?Their dedication to the preservation of our recreational facilities in the Tumbler Ridge District through tough economic times has been exceptional?, says Lajeunesse. ?Like many of us, they?ve had to make do with their current available budgets and I?m impressed with how they?ve risen to the challenge. Tumbler?s own Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society and the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation are huge assets to this community?, says Lajeunesse. ?Their diligent and pro-active interactions with politicians and industries working in the area have brought positive recognition to the town. Their attempts to preserve and diversify the local economy and trail network system, which many locals helped to develop and maintain, is second to none in this province. Their insight and professionalism is absolutely extraordinary?.
?Our regional Ministry of Highways manager John Miller and local contractors Joe Heaton of Taz Contracting, Frank Forst of Tumbler Ridge Energy Services (TRES), along with Randy Bachelor of Caribou Road Services (CRS) have all been strong supporters of our local infrastructures. The operating skills of their employees and the willingness to help maintain and upgrade these sites, was greatly appreciated?, says Lajeunesse.
The Moose Lake Forestry Recreation Site and the Gwillim Lake Provincial Park both saw significant improvements this past summer, which is a good sign of things to come. ?Reg Wisener of Imperial Oil and Walter MacFarlane of CFI/West Fraser are two distinguished gentlemen who went beyond the call of duty to support these facilities. Their willingness to provide operational support for these popular sites provide operational support for these popular sites will help to keep costs to a minimum for years to come. Although there was some negative feedback from some recreational users this past summer, for the most part people were understanding and supportive of the new government initiatives?, which Lajeunesse says was expected when he took on the task of maintaining these campgrounds.
It appears that the theory behind the Liberals ?Heartland Economic Strategy?, is hard at work streamlining the fiscal restraints our province is currently under. Lajeunesse says, ?It makes good business sense to me to try and minimize the tax burdens we all seem to feel when governments cut back. This can only happen when businesses and industry players get creative and adjust to the economic changes, which are constantly happening in our province today?.
When asked what future plans Northern Recreational Development has for the Tumbler Ridge area, Lajeunesse commented that the upcoming WinterFest, spear-headed by our local Tumbler Ridge Community Arts Council, will be the kickoff to showcase some of what Tumbler Ridge has to offer for winter activities. ? Our local snowmobile club the Ridge Riders, are trying to re-establish membership for their sport again, which I hope to help them with and there are plans in the works to set up a Dogsled Tours Venue for Tumbler Ridge, too rekindle the McQueen Family Legacy of Racing and Dog-Sledding Excellence?. As we travel down the road to the 2010 Winter Olympics, the ?Spirit of the 2010 Legacy?, is alive and well in Tumbler Ridge.
Mr. Lajeunesse encourages anyone interested in pursuing the development of tourism products to step up to the plate and get involved in the planning process. ?The sky is the limit right now in British Columbia as the Liberals have seeking to double the number of tourism products in BC by 2010.