Along with many other good things taking place in Tumbler Ridge, the role of tourism in the diversification of its local economy continues to grow. This is in large part due to the success of many community projects that have, for several years now, been adding an increasing amount of value to the community?s ability to becoming a desirable visitor destination.
While there is a great deal for us to be proud of, some development gaps still exist that are hindering Tumbler Ridge from reaching its full tourism potential. Some of these gaps are beyond our reach to solve alone (I.e. the condition of the Murray River Forest Service Road), however, there are many others that the community can address itself through collaboration and cooperation. It is with this in mind that the District of Tumbler Ridge Economic Development Department applied to be considered for the Community Tourism Foundations program (CTF). Created by Tourism BC as a means to substantially increase the contribution of tourism to the provincial economy, the CTF program is designed to assist communities in furthering their tourism development activities through the provision of professional resources and funding.
Despite the existence of a large waiting list from the first program intake in 2006, Tumbler Ridge was successful in its application and an initial meeting to confirm its participation took place on December 11th, 2007. Participants of this initial meeting included the Chamber of Commerce, local tourism operators/service providers, District staff and representatives of local organizations that have a direct and/or indirect role in the development of TR?s tourism assets. Others in attendance include Anthony Everett, CEO of Northern BC Tourism, and Simone Carlysle-Smith, the program facilitator assigned to Tumbler Ridge for the duration of its participation. The purpose of the initial meeting was to have the participants provide, from a variety of perspectives, their views on the status and potential of tourism in TR. In addition, those in attendance were asked to confirm their commitment to the program?s process, as it will involve active participation from the community and the expenditure of Tourism BC resources. Not only was this commitment confirmed, a strong positive response from the meeting attendees led to a very productive session. One of the strongest messages to come out of the discussions was that this process would result in tailor-made, community-driven solutions to eliminating the developmental gaps in our local tourism industry. In other words, it will work to avoid at all costs the repetition/duplication of existing and past efforts, and strive to build upon the good work that has, and is still being done. Following the meeting Anthony Everett praised the community and its work by stating, ?Tumbler Ridge should be extremely proud of their tourism development successes. For a town of its size, it demonstrates an unusually high level of advancement that places it amongst Northern BC?s most promising destinations.? It must be noted that anyone who was not invited for this first discussion should not feel left out, as it only represents the program introduction. Rest assured, there will be many more opportunities to actively participate in the process and the leadership group that has been assembled will be working hard to garner more interest as everything unfolds. Those who would like to become involved should monitor the local news, bulletin boards and the District website, where project information and calls for participation will be posted. In addition, it would be helpful to leave your name and contact info with the Economic Development Office at Town Hall (242-4242). Onward and upward.