Opinion

EDITORIAL: Tourist season

The tourist season is upon us in Parksville Qualicum Beach, a time when many businesses take in the bulk of their annual revenues.

With this comes traffic and the wear and tear on our roads. And all of the services us locals use year-round.

Thankfully, the provincial government recognizes this challenge for resort communities. Since 2006, through something called the Resort Municipality Initiative, the provincial government has doled out more than $87 million to help these unique communities with their infrastructure challenges.

On Wednesday of last week, the latest round of funding — $10.5 million from the RMI was announced.

Communities like Osoyoos, Revelstoke and Golden received money to improve signage and boat parking lots, build trails and enhance their waterfront facilities. There’s an extra-special club of communities — 14 of them — that split all the money.

And Parksville Qualicum Beach can’t get in the club.

When she was here on the campaign trail one year ago, we asked Premier Christy Clark if she thought this region had a chance to join the club.

“I would be happy to sit down and talk to them about that,” the premier told The NEWS. “This community has all the characteristics of any great resort around the world.”

Later, we asked MLA Michelle Stilwell if anything was up with this file.

“Minister (of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley) Bond has offered to have one of her senior officials to sit down and review the criteria with both myself and our community if they are interested,” Stilwell told us. “The criteria to meet the threshold are very rigorous, but I will continue to pursue the issue.”

A couple of months ago, we asked Stilwell if there was any news on this. She said Parksville Qualicum Beach did not fit the club’s profile and would not be admitted.

She said if the rules were changed, too many communities would become eligible and the province couldn’t afford to broaden the program.

Once again, no joy from Victoria for Parksville Qualicum Beach.

— Editorial by John Harding

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