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Pemberton receives funding to expand tourism industry

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Pemberton's fledgling tourism industry has received an $80,000 boost from the provincial government's park and backcountry gateway program.

"We're really excited," Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner said following the announcement.

The funding includes $30,000 to hire a program co-ordinator and $50,000 to develop and implement new tourism programs.

According to Warner, the program could create up to 80 new jobs in the community.

"It will stimulate more money coming into the community," she told Pique Newsmagazine .

The funding was announced Sept. 6 by Brian Dolsen, assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services.

"[Pemberton] offers an impressive gateway that connects the Sea-to-Sky corridor and the interior of British Columbia," Dolsen wrote in a letter to Warner. "I see some terrific opportunities to tie together work already underway in support of the 2010 Olympic bid with Pemberton and the surrounding area."

According to Dolsen, the Mount Currie Indian Band will also be included in the project.

The program, which was started in 1999 by the NDP’s small business and tourism ministry, will recognize the community as a gateway to ecotourism and adventure travel in the backcountry.

Pemberton applied for funding from the B.C. government last spring after completing a study that detailed the feasibility of developing its tourism industry.

The gateway community program recognizes that tourism is a way to generate sustainable and well-paying jobs in traditionally resource-dependent towns.

Golden, Burns Lake, Fort Nelson, Wells, Valemount and Lake Cowichan are other communities funded by the program.

Pemberton will be the last community to receive gateway funding.

Warner said West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling played a crucial role in obtaining the gateway funding from the government.

"The program will certainly assist Pemberton in promoting its great recreational opportunities," said Nebbeling.

According to Nebbeling, the province’s public lands offer great opportunities for tourism and the Pemberton area is no exception.

Pemberton is also the site of a couple of multi-million dollar resort development proposals.

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