The Village of Sayward is embarking on a plan to create an experiential tourism asset, giving visitors an insight to the fishing and forestry industries that are the heart of the community’s working waterfront.
The multi-phase Working Waterfront project will create new assets including a trail, gateway, and lookout, and feature historical and cultural information highlighting the community’s history in fishing and forestry.
“The waterfront trail and lookouts will leverage Sayward’s history as a former ‘company town’, and the ongoing activities in forestry and fishing, to attract and educate visitors,” said ICET Chair Phil Kent.
This project will form part of a growing network of visitor amenities focused on the region’s rich resource sector history.
The project is being funded with $183,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) as well as contributions from the BC Rural Dividend Fund and the Village of Sayward.
“This is excellent news for the Village of Sayward,” said Claire Trevena, MLA North Island and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The new amenities should attract more visitors and businesses into the area.”
The first phase of the project will see construction of a 1.6km gravel trail; creation of ‘The Gateway’ area that features a defined entry point, way finding signage, and extensive historical and cultural information, as well as parking and landscaping.
One of the highlights of the first phase of the project will be the construction of the ‘Boom Boat Ballet Lookout’.
Positioned overlooking the Western Forest Products booming grounds, the lookout will invite visitors to read about the history of forestry in the Sayward Valley and provide them with a front-row view the current operations in front of them – including the intricate dance of the boom boats, known as the ‘Boom Boat Ballet’.
Located at a natural stopping point for visitors travelling to the North Island and back, the project will attract new visitors and encourage visitors stopping in to stay longer.
“The project is already spurring interest in the expansion of existing hospitality businesses and attracting new service providers, eco-tourism operators and residential development,” said Village of Sayward Mayor John McDonald. “This project will also complement and support new initiatives such as a plan for a First Nations and Fishing interpretive centre, which we are working to develop with the K’omox First Nation as well as community based resource sector partners.”
The project, with a total budget of $367,250, will begin construction this spring, with completion forecast for October 2018.