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Gibsons Visitor’s Centre gets a quarter million dollar upgrade

Provincial funding provided for exterior enhancements
Gibsons Visitors Centre
The Gibsons Visitors centre relocated from Marine Drive to a municipally owned building next to the town hall in 2020.

Outdoor amenities will be added to Gibsons’ Visitor Centre (GVC) with a $254,394 grant from the province. The money will come from BC’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program’s Destination Development stream.

A partially enclosed gathering space, ramps and pathways connecting the site to Gower Point Road, a solar-powered information kiosk and map display, Indigenous interpretive signage, a totem pole and bike racks will be added to the South Fletcher Road facility.

A Feb. 7 press release from the Town of Gibsons stated it was awarded the funds and will be conducting the project with partner Sunshine Coast Tourism. The work is slated to commence in July and be completed by March 2023.

“Tourism has been an essential and growing industry for the Sunshine Coast economy for the last five years, bringing millions of dollars in new revenue into our communities,” Mayor Bill Beamish said in the press release. “Gibsons is the most frequently accessed gateway to the Sunshine Coast and the GVC is often a visitor’s first customer service experience upon arrival. A fully developed visitor centre enhances guest experiences and encourages extended stays and exploration of the entire region, which benefits local businesses and increases the overall contribution of tourism to our economy. This has ripple effects for long-term economic development, attracting investment and new residents throughout the Sunshine Coast.”

Gibson’s relocated the centre to a municipally owned building adjacent to its town hall in 2020 from its former site on Marine Drive, near the statue of George Gibson.

A Feb. 4 press release from the province announced the project as one of more than 50 that would be sharing a total of $21.3 million in funding. Also included was a grant of $24,000 to upgrade the Sunshine Coast & Tla’amin Trails in the Powell River area.  

Local member of the legislative assembly Nicholas Simons was on the Coast to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for Sechelt’s Hackett Park Stage project that same day. In a statement released about the grant funding, Simons said “The Sunshine Coast is renowned as one of the greatest places to visit across B.C. We’re working with communities to enhance those experiences, ensuring that everyone can comfortably check out the Gibsons Visitor Centre and helping people stay safe and reduce wildlife conflicts on the Sunshine Coast Trail.”

Four of the projects announced on Feb. 4 were awarded the funding stream maximum of $1 million. All were from the Vancouver Coast and Mountain (VCM) region of Tourism BC. They include adding a sport and event plaza at the Richmond Olympic Oval, improving infrastructure at North Vancouver’s Shipyards destination, expanding of the Visitor Centre and Sasquatch Museum near Harrison Hot Springs and the Chief Cexpe'nthlEm Memorial Precinct Revitalization Project of the Lytton First Nation.

VCM is one of six Tourism BC regions. It had 15 successful applications to the provincial program in 2021, including the two from the Coast. That was the highest number of grants awarded to any of the regions and accounted for $7.3 million of the funding announced.