Tourism should be consulted too

Outdoor tourism operators are concerned by your recent statements

Filed for publication with the Mirror

Dear Mayor Adams,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group (DIMTG) and Cortes Island Business and Tourism (CIBAT). There are at least 60 tourism operations employing over 650 people in the Discovery Islands area and this does not even include those in Campbell River. When combined with Campbell River, last year tourism employed 1,200 people and had revenues of about $50 million for the area.

As you are aware, tourism is a major economic player in the Campbell River region and visitors are drawn to this area by its unique and spectacular natural beauty. With 6.3 million potential visitors living within an 8- hour drive of here and with the right marketing and protection, we could be poised to have a tourism industry rivaling that of Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park.

But outdoor tourism operators are concerned by your recent statements that may lead to a negative impact on the local tourism industry.

It was reported in the Dec. 9 issue of the Campbell River Mirror, that you announced the revival of the forestry task force to be headed by Councilor Charlie Cornfield. The article says “the task force is expected “to work with the Truck Loggers Association, TimberWest, Western Forest Products, Interfor and all other forest-related companies based here in Campbell River and on Vancouver Island to help re-build the coastal forest industry.”

The DIMTG feels very strongly that the tourism sector needs to be consulted as well. The setting and regulation of Visual Quality Objectives and the placement of log dumps and other forestry infrastructure has a huge impact on the quality of natural experience that the tour operators can offer to their visitors. And from what we have seen from out on the water, logging as increased dramatically in the last 5 years.

Again in the Dec. 9 Mirror, there was another article that said: “We’re the centre for the aquaculture industry in British Columbia,” Adams said. “I will ask council to support executive director Jeremy Dunn and the BC Salmon Farmers’ Association and other aquaculture industries.” But Adams was quick to point out that it needs to be a multi-pronged approach. He said council will need to “work with First Nations, provincial and federal governments to ensure this industry can grow in a sustainable and environmentally respectful manner, providing jobs and economic stability for families in (the) community.”

Tourism needs to have a voice at the table on this issue as well. A salmon farm here, a log dump there and a cut block just up the channel all have a cumulative effect and results in the industrialization of some of the most scenic and heavily visited marine corridors in BC.

Visitors don’t come to Campbell River for its urban environment and to stay in hotels. They come to the city for the access it gives them to the magnificent natural beauty that surrounds us. A high quality natural environment is of paramount importance to the local economy.

We recognize that resource extraction and management is very important to the local economy. But the tourism industry needs to be recognized as an equal stakeholder. We ask you Mayor Adams, that you please consider this while you develop your economic policies.

Mike Moore; Misty Isles Adventures

Ralph and Lannie Keller; Coast Mountain Expeditions and Discovery Lodge

Breanne Quesnel and Rick Snowden; Spirit of the West Kayaking

Ross Campbell; Mothership Adventures

Jack Springer; Campbell River Whale Watching

Carol London; CIBAT