“You can’t grow what you don’t know,” said FVRD Board Chair Jason Lum.
The local city councillor and FVRD leader was referring to the need to inventory and grow the outdoor recreation and tourism economy, in a systematic way across the Fraser Valley Regional District territory.
The FVRD has received a $282,000 grant from the federal Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund to launch a “data-driven” project to develop tourism and outdoor infrastructure.
“We know that our region has tremendous assets for outdoor recreation, but we need a comprehensive inventory and framework to grow this sector,” Lum pointed out. “Working collaboratively with our partners, we plan to build a strategic, data-driven tourism economy that is sustainable across the region.”
The effort will be undertaken with a range of stakeholders from First Nations, local governments, tourism organizations, to user groups throughout the Fraser Valley.
An impact analysis will answer questions like as who is coming to visit the Fraser Valley, how frequently, what they do, and how much money they spend. An asset management plan will identify the natural, cultural or heritage resources that could be further developed, as well as potential risks and opportunities.
“Many of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the Fraser Valley are located in our rural areas, many of which have faced difficult economic conditions due to shrinking natural resource sectors. A comprehensive outdoor recreation management plan will contribute to the region’s economy as a whole,” said Lum.
The federal Strategic Priorities Fund is an application-based program available to local governments and other recipients outside of Metro Vancouver to support infrastructure and capacity-building projects that are either large in scale, regional in impact or innovative, and align with the program objectives of productivity and economic growth, a clean environment and strong cities and communities.