The provincial government says Barkerville didn’t meet the criteria to receive funding through its latest program for major anchor attractions.
Over 50 attractions from around the province and 26 tour bus operators received grants through the program. Attractions in rural areas which get more than 15,000 visitors per year were eligible for up to $500,000 in funding.
Criteria for receiving the grant was selling enough tickets, having a 30 per cent revenue loss, and being B.C.-owned.
Barkerville Historic Town and Park is owned by the provincial and federal governments and operated through the Barkerville Trust. No provincially-owned attraction received funds through the Major Anchor Attractions Program.
Earlier this year, the trust penned a letter to the provincial government asking for an additional $650,000 in funding to address what they called a “critical budget shortfall.”
In a statement, BC Liberals Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes criticized the Horgan government for excluding Barkerville “from a grant program designed to support struggling tourism attractions in our province.”
The historic town received just over $2 million in operating funding for 2021 from the government, as well as a BC Arts Council grant of $39,000 and $630,000 through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.
“Preserving attractions like Barkerville is about more than saving tourism businesses and the thousands of jobs they support across our province, it’s about preserving our province’s history,” said Teresa Wat, BC Liberal Critic for Tourism.
“Barkerville is a landmark site which honours the contributions of the many cultural groups who built our province. If John Horgan does not offer Barkerville and other historic attractions the support they need, we run the very real risk of losing them forever.”
The Quesnel Observer reached out to the ministry of tourism inquiring why the tourism destination didn’t receive grant program funding.
A spokesperson said the trust could be eligible for tourism-related funding in the 2021-22 federal budget adding that the province is advocating for its share.
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