As a Resort Municipality, Kimberley is eligible to receive a percentage of hotel room tax revenue from the province. Those funds must go to projects which improve tourism infrastructure in the City, such as the recently opened Riverside Putting Course at the campground.
Kimberley will receive $96,000 in 2013, $46,000 of which has not yet been committed to a specific project.
To assist in choosing projects, a Tourism Infrastructure Advisory Committee was struck last month and recommendations on projects have already been forwarded to Council.
Funds have already been committed to the Kimberley Trails Society, formed in 2009 to develop, protect and maintain recreational trails in and around Kimberley. The Society will receive $40,000 in 2013 and $50,000 in 2014 for construction of intermediate and advanced trails and a skills park. Funding of $10,000 is also committed to the Winter Ski Shuttle for 2013 and 2014.
The Trails Society will also received funding for some new projects — $19,100 this year and $5000 next for the development of beginners level trails and $6,900 this year for trailhead kiosks.
The remaining $20,000 for 2013 has been earmarked by the committee for the base salary for a Festival and Events Coordinator. This is something many in Kimberley, including the Chamber of Commerce, have been asking for to ensure the sustainability of Kimberley’s festivals.
While Mayor Ron McRae says the position is still emerging, there is a $30,000 line item in the Economic Development budget for this position. With $20,000 from the RMI, this would reduce the City’s portion to $10,000, with a Columbia Basin Trust application pending as well.
“The importance of the festival coordinator is to really get a handle on where we are as a ‘city of festivals,” McRae said. “But it’s also important to create an environment to support the volunteers who make the festivals happen.”
McRae says that while Resort Municipality funding will support the base salary for one year that will not be an ongoing payment.
“We would be looking for an opportunity to create revenue out of the position,” he said, meaning eventually the festivals will fund the position by themselves.
“We could also apply for lottery funding. You can’t apply for that in the first year, but you can once the position has been established.”
Kimberley must finalize the projects by March 31, 2013.