District is looking at tourism and entreprenuerial development

“We are already seeing an increase in visitors” - Dewar

District of Kitimat director of economic development Mike Dewar said stakeholders in the district are working towards diversifying the local economy through tourism and entrepreneurial development to stave off the effects of the economic downturn.

“With businesses and individual families feeling the pinch, and businesses shrinking, this is prime time to get the entrepreneurial spirwit to flourish in Kitimat and to look at diversifying the economy through developing tourism,” said Dewar.

He added that this was necessary in light of a number of factors, including LNG Canada’s announcing the delay of their Final Investment Decision (FID) decision for at least 18 to 24 months.

“We assume that as most of the projects are market-based, Kitimat LNG will have a similar timeframe for a potential FID,” said Dewar.

He also referred to the delays with the two proposed oil refineries earmarked for Kitimat, with one of the projects currently in the Environmental Assessment process and the other asking for a temporary leave permit in order to secure additional First Nations and funding support.

“Looking at that in terms of going through the process, the EA process and doing the engineering permitting processes, we wouldn’t expect their FIDs before the end of the decade as well,” added Dewar.

He said the local stakeholders, including the District of Kitimat, the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce and other municipal partners, have been working on a number of projects to develop and diversify the economy in the area.

“Right now, with the extra hotel capacity in Kitimat, the District and other stakeholders in the community have been working on putting on more events in town, especially with the Canada 150 celebrations coming up,” said Dewar.

“We want to try to diversify the economy through tourism and other activities in the Kitimat area.”

He said hotel capacity was one of the challenges in terms of the number of beds that were available for tourists coming to Kitimat.

“We look at that as an area that we can expand on and we have a couple of initiatives going on,” said Dewar.

“This is important – we’re seeing more activity such as the whales coming back into the channel. The natural beauty of the area is something that we would like to focus on.”

He said the District and the Chamber of Commerce are also looking at introducing a ‘book of deals’ for tourists entering the district, which will offer the discounts on accommodation and meals.

He said summer in the District this year would be more eventful, with expanded Canada 150 events, including a concert by Canadian rock icons Chilliwack at the end of June.

He said Kitimat was already receiving more visitors this year, especially with the closure of the Terrace Aquatic Centre for a year while renovations are being undertaken.

“We are already seeing an increase in visitors, with people coming from as far as Nass Valley and Hazleton to use our recreational facilities,” said Dewar.

He said the District was also working with its regional northwest partners at developing tourism opportunities, to “bring mutual prosperity to the entire region rather than just focusing on individual community needs”.

The District’s bid to focus on increasing the number of beds in Kitimat received a shot in the arm recently with the completion of the MStar hotel in the City Centre Mall.

The ribbon cutting for the hotel took place on May 17, which was attended by City Centre Mall owner Jerry Minni, District mayor Phil Germuth, District councillors and staff, the Chamber of Commerce and the contractors that completed the project.

Minni said the decision to build the first MStar hotel in Kitimat stems from the success he has had developing in small communities where he had identified an opportunity for long-term economic growth.

“When I acquired City Centre Mall and the site for Tim Hortons in 2006, I felt that Kitimat was prime for future economic growth and a need existed for short-term accommodations, hence the lease with Tim Hortons and the hotel,” said Minni.

He said his team had decided early on in the planning stages to brand the hotel with the intent to build a chain, through acquisition and construction, and that Kitimat was an obvious choice to start.

“We are currently looking at other areas to develop the MStar brand which include, but not limited to the northwest,” said Minni.

“As an investor and developer I am patient and our focus is to invest early in areas where we see opportunity.”

Just Posted

Cable Car quarry to go ahead

A second application for a quarry on Kitamaat Village Road is underway

Heavy rains threatened operations at Rio Tinto

Situation aggravated by the washout of the PNG gas pipeline

Ross backs Wilkinson for head of BC Liberals

“As an urbanite, he’s very aware of the issues that are important to rural people.” - Ross

Amendments will prevent unreasonable rent increases

The amendments would improve the rights of renters throughout the province.

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

New real estate rule will hurt Kitimat market

“I feel I have been robbed of what I have been good at for the past nine years”

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read