Work has started on a makeover for the South Cariboo Visitor Centre.
The work, to be phased over two years, will include a small rest area, new washroom facilities, new signage and refacing the centre’s log structure.
The aim is to improve the rest area and 100 Mile Marsh trail for locals, residents, visitors and Electric Vehicle travellers when the centre is closed. In 2019, the tourist centre welcomed 34,481 visitors.
Julie Gilmore, visitor centre coordinator, said part of the plan is to add more signage to the marsh trail, which has seen a huge increase in the number of local people using it over the past year.
The signage will highlight the various birds and species living in the area.
“It’s going to be exciting to see changes here, for the locals and the tourists,” Gilmore said. “It’s a really great addition for the community, and for the children, too, who come with their teachers.”
The project is being funded jointly by the province’s Tourism Dependent Community Funding stream and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, which provided the District of 100 Mile with $210,000 and $20,000 respectively.
The province said the grant funding is an integral part of B.C.’s plan to boost the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 46 tourism-development projects were identified by B.C. communities, including updated trails for e-bikes and adaptive trikes, solar electric vehicle charging stations and sea kayak touring and picnic facilities.
The grants will pay for the washroom and ground revitalization, while Canada’s Log People Inc. have donated some of their time and materials to upgrade the log work on the centre’s exterior.
The District has not yet determined if the centre will fully open this summer. Gilmore said centre staff are currently working on a plan to assist travellers when they start coming through the region. Most of this work will be done outdoors, similar to last year, she said, to reduce the traffic inside.
“We’re working on getting everything organized. I’m going to try to have plans in place so we can be outside as much as we can,” Gilmore said. “We’re just trying to organize the flow, see how it’s going to work.”