$8.7M PROTECTS HISTORIC BARKERVILLE AND FORT STEELE

BHT Past-Chair Neil Vant, Barkerville CEO Judy Campbell, and MLA Donna Barnett

VICTORIA – The Province is investing $8.7 million to preserve and protect two of B.C.’s historic treasures: Fort Steele and Barkerville, announced Donna Barnett MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin on behalf of Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment.

The funding will upgrade sewer, water and fire suppression systems over the next four years to safeguard health, safety and the environment, and to prevent the loss of irreplaceable artefacts at the two heritage sites.

“Our historic buildings, structures and cultural landscapes attract tourists from all over the world, creating jobs for British Columbians and supporting sustainable communities,” said MacDiarmid. “This $8.7-million investment reflects government’s commitment to preserving these irreplaceable sites, which help us appreciate and understand our heritage, as well as being crucial to the prosperity of our tourism sector.”

Visitors to Fort Steele and Barkerville generate over $5 million in provincial tax revenue each year and contribute more than $21 million to the province’s GDP. For the two properties, the Province has allocated an infrastructure budget of up to $6.87 million for Barkerville, and up to $1.83 million for Fort Steele.

“Support for B.C.’s heritage sites is a vital investment, not only in the preservation of our history, but in the strength of our local economies,” said Barnett. “Key signature heritage attractions such as Barkerville and Fort Steele play an essential role in the diversity,

sustainability and attractiveness of our communities. They entice visitors to stay longer and spend more which in turn supports and creates jobs for our residents.”

A recent economic impact study showed Barkerville creates the equivalent of 156 full- year jobs in the region for B.C. residents, with wages and salaries totalling $6.6 million in 2009.

“This funding is a great investment in our local economy,” said Judy Campbell, CEO of Barkerville Historic Town. “Barkerville is one of our foremost tourism destinations in the Cariboo region, and it stands as a monument to the people and events that have shaped British Columbia and Canada’s history.”

Fort Steele supports the equivalent of 295 year-round jobs for residents in the region, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

“Heritage sites like Fort Steele offer a wealth of historically rich and fascinating stories to our visitors and residents,” said Laura Williams, CEO of Friends of Fort Steele Society. “We are thrilled to have this funding for upgrades that are critical to the future conservation of Fort Steele.”

Barkerville and Fort Steele are two of 11 provincial heritage properties open to the public. They are operated and managed in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment through heritage site management agreements with community organizations. Since 2001, the Province has invested $28.3 million in provincial heritage properties around British Columbia.

Contact:

Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment

250 356-9869

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.