As Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan is underway, the City of Kimberley is making special preparations regarding how to safely move forward with the tourism economy it relies on.
In a post to Facebook, Kimberley Mayor Don McCormack said that visitors are essential and have kept the community going for years.
“Since 2001, Kimberley’s single economic driver is tourism. This is significant because our retail business community is dependent on tourism spending. Local spending is not going to be enough to keep everyone viable. Opening up our economy is going to mean opening up to visitors, but it must be done in a safe way,” said McCormick.
Since public health orders have taken a hit on tourism reliant communities, such as Kimberley, the City is in the process of making specific plans on how to move forward as safely as possible.
With businesses opening their doors to accept customers once again, a team representing different sectors in Kimberley has been set up to address the interests of businesses, residents and visitors. the team consists of representatives from Tourism Kimberley, the Chamber of Commerce, Northstar Mountain Village, Mountain Spirit, Kimberley Lodging Company, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
McCormick added that out of province visitors have not seen the best treatment since the onset of the pandemic.
“Tourism has been under siege since the beginning of this pandemic. The Alberta visitor experience the last few months in several East Kootenay communities is troubling. There are stories of contempt, conflict and even vandalism,” said McCormick. “Secondary homeowners and regular visitors to Kimberley have been awesome, respecting our reasons for asking them to hunker down in their primary residence as per the advice of both Provincial Health Officials.”
McCormick added that care is being taken to develop an approach that is specific to Kimberley on how to move forward and live with COVID-19.
According to McCormick, more in-depth details on the plan will be made available next week.