An inspection of the highly popular Marysville Falls Walkway last summer revealed that this local treasure was nearing the end of its useful and safe lifespan.
Since the Sullivan Mine closed in 2001, Kimberley has leaned on its amazing recreation amenities and pure mountain air to attract visitors. These resources are the mainstay of the local economy
One of Kimberley’s significant attractions is Marysville Falls, a 10-metre waterfall. Access to the falls is by the 300 metre Rotary Marysville Falls Al Fabro Walkway. The original walkway was a Kimberley Rotary Club project completed about 37 years ago and was dedicated to honour the first Rotary District 5080 Governor (1964-65) from Kimberley, Al Fabro.
The closing of a site like this in a City that relies on tourism would have a negative effect on the city and its businesses. Kimberley Rotary took up the challenge and in spite of having all their regular fundraisers cancelled, due to the COVID pandemic, raised the funds to conduct an Engineering Study to determine the feasibility of rebuilding the Walkway to make it safe and accessible to everyone. Funding for the approximately $20,000.00 feasibility assessment was provided by Columbia Basin Trust, Teck Metals Ltd., the Kimberley Rotary Club, and a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation. The City of Kimberley also provided in-kind donations of existing surveys, drawings, and records.
The Engineering feasibility study revealed that the project was a possibility, and identified how the Walkway could be brought up to current standards for access for the diversely abled, current building code, and safety standards, while also remaining conscientious of the environmental sensitivity of the area. Further, the study identified the major fundraising effort that would be required by the Rotary Club, as the preliminary cost estimate was over $270,000.
Kimberley Rotary, with its past history of completing major projects such as the Splash Park, the Washrooms and the Children’s Playground at Rotary Park, believed that if the goal was worth pursuing, a means could be found. A Rotary committee started looking for sources of funding.
Grant applications were sought and one opportunity looked promising. The BRITISH COLUMBIA COMMUNITY ECONOMIC RECOVERY INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM – DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT GRANT. The description of this grant stated: “This stream invests in the development, conservation, repair or rehabilitation of tourism infrastructure and amenities to assist in the re-emergence and resiliency of the tourism sector”. The conditions of the grant were carefully studied and an application made.
Kimberley Rotary is pleased and honoured that they have received confirmation from the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport that states:
Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program-Destination Development Project # DD0230-Marysville Falls Walkway Rebuild has been approved for $208,950.00.
It is expected, weather permitting, that work will be starting on this project in April this year. More details will be shared as the program gets underway.