Tourism goals include a strategy for Whonnock Lake.

Tourism goals include a strategy for Whonnock Lake.

Maple Ridge starts talks for tourism tactics

Council agreed to proceed with Phase 1 of its draft Maple Ridge Tourism Strategy.

The City of Maple Ridge is proceeding with its plans to grow tourism, but is shelving till the fall efforts to re-brand its image.

Council, last week, agreed to proceed with Phase 1 of its draft Maple Ridge Tourism Strategy, which involves trotting out the brand new plan to the public throughout this year.

A total of $90,000 has already been approved in the budget to hire a tourism coordinator from April to December of this year, and for studying the feasibility of a hotel.

The draft tourism budget says total cost of the first year of the strategy will work out to $115,000.

That includes $60,000 for the tourism coordinator and $30,000 for the hotel feasibility study, which also includes studying Airbnb, and another $35,000 for marketing.

By the fourth year of the strategy, the city will be paying $175,000 a year to develop tourism.

It’s recommended in the strategy that city develop its own tourism plan rather than contract that to an external entity.

All destination-tourism organizations in B.C. are municipally run, the strategy points out, with Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Coquitlam and Mission all having tourism operations that cost between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

Some of the goals listed in the strategy include developing a tourism plan for Whonnock Lake, attracting a hotel developer to partner in building a hotel in the town centre, improving trail networks, as well as downtown pedestrian access, and developing tourist accommodations along rivers and in rural areas.

Council will review the strategy again following public consultation.

Council will reconsider a separate city rebranding initiative in the fall.