Increasing accessibility to outdoor spaces while providing employment and economic stimulus in communities across B.C.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF)’s Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program has been awarded over $600,000 in funding by the Province of British Columbia, as part of the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) upgrade up to 20 docks throughout B.C.
The two-year Outdoor Access Improvement Project aims to improve accessibility for all community members, including seniors and those with disabilities and will be carried out in cooperation with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) and local contractors in communities where the work will be taking place.
Some of the work at the selected locations will include installing transition ramps and bumper rails to docks, adding accessible infrastructure, including picnic tables and washrooms, and making the trails leading to these areas more accessible.
“The Outdoor Access Improvement Project is a great opportunity to increase the mobility-impaired access to docks throughout the province. Due to COVID-19 many fishing spots have become busier. Our goal is to increase accessibility while providing employment and economic stimulus in communities throughout B.C. Funding provided by the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), Columbia Basin Trust, and in-kind support from various communities and groups such as the Freshwater Fisheries Society, of BC has enabled us to carry out this project. It is great to see many different organizations working together to improve accessibility in B.C.” said Tobias Roehr, BCWF Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Coordinator.
The recreational fishing industry in B.C. generates roughly 480 million dollars each year and creates thousands of jobs, including many indirect jobs in retail and the service industry through fishing tourism. 2020 has had undeniable impacts on the industry and on the public’s ability to go fishing and enjoy other outdoor activities. However, after the vast changes that COVID-19 brought on, many people are looking for new ways to get outdoors and enjoy what B.C. has to offer.
The project will not only have the long-lasting benefit of improving these outdoor spaces for current and future public use, but also have a direct impact on all communities involved as BCWF’s Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program is looking to hire local contractors and source supplies from smaller, local businesses.
The improvements being made through this project will create safer and more accessible outdoor spaces for community members of all abilities and provide more opportunities to fish, go for walks and support the local outdoor retail industry, as well as other local service businesses across B.C.
The BCWF Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program is also receiving in-kind support from Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, BC Parks, Recreation Sites and Trails BC, as well as other local community groups and BCWF affiliated clubs.
CERIP supports community initiatives through investments in short-term, small-scale public infrastructure throughout B.C. to create jobs and support recovery for people and communities affected by COVID-19.