Last week Michelle Stilwell, Parksville-Qualicum MLA was named as an opposition critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture — along with MLA Doug Clovechok.
We made the assumption when we read the announcement that Stilwell was named to shadow the government on this portfolio because of the importance of both tourism and arts and culture to the local area.
It wasn’t that many years ago when Qualicum Beach was in the top five communities in the province whose residents said their income was derived from arts and culture.
Everything from art, music, theatre and film falls into this category.
We enjoy a wealth of carvers, artists and musicians in Parksville Qualicum Beach, the sister towns for Chesapeake Shores, filming for a second season. Our local theatre is a hit all summer long. TOSH and The MAC are focal points for exhibitions and live performances.
And then there’s the more than 130,000 people that visited the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sandsculpting Competition at the Parksville Beach last year.
An ongoing saga on the tourism front should keep Stilwell busy. Back in 2012 the local municipalities were trying to tap into the Resort Municipality Initiative to no avail. That year $10 million was handed out to 14 other communities.
When Stilwell hosted Christy Clark in PQB during the 2013 election campaign, Clark said “I would be happy to sit down and talk to them about that,” the then-premier told The NEWS. “This community has all the characteristics of any great resort around the world.”
Despite that and Stilwell’s urging, nothing has been forthcoming. Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre says they will be seeking a meeting with the incoming minister of tourism to ask the results of a review of the program and whether it will be renewed or modified.
The program, if accessed, would be important to the area, the money could be used for trail and boardwalk improvements, venue development and tourist information services.
We’re counting on Stilwell to keep the new government accountable on this portfolio and in particular — to make sure get our piece of the pie.
— Parksville Qualicum Beach News