Huu-ay-aht First Nations is pleased to announce it is one of 38 rural communities to receive funding from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program announced this week.
The Nation is the recipient of a $510,340 grant earmarked for the Pachena Bay Campground expansion. This grant is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, with grants totalling $20 million across the province. The Rural Economic Recovery stream is designed to help people living in rural communities by supporting new jobs and economic opportunities to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
“Last summer, we made the choice not to open our campsite in order to keep our community and citizens safe during the pandemic,” explains Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “Our citizens told us they did not feel safe opening our community to added risks. This decision came at a significant cost to the Nation. We are grateful for this grant as it will help us move forward with the plans we have despite suffering a devastating tourism season last year.”
The grant Huu-ay-aht received will help create additional sites, new trails, and service upgrades. This will also move forward the plan to build a second access road to the campground. This is something that has been important to the Nation as citizens of Lower Anacla often raised the safety concern related to having the access road through the village. The pandemic also highlighted the need for this second access.
Pachena Bay Campground is owned by the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses, which is owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations. HGB will oversee these upgrades and changes. This is the second grant the campground has received. The first was a federal grant for $270,000.
“These grant funds provide an exciting opportunity to build upon the existing foundation of the Pachena Bay Campground, leading to greater economic success for Huuayaht First Nations,” explained Patrick Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer for the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses.
Prior to the shutdown in 2020, the Pachena Campground proved to be a successful venture for the Nation. The new facilities and amenities are expected to attract a new market, including more RV owners. By adding an additional 40 sites, visitor volumes are expected to increase as the campground is typically full for most of the season. This will potentially have positive spinoffs for the neighbouring community of Bamfield, leading to more employment and business opportunities. The expansion is expected to generate five direct jobs at the campsite, creating more opportunity to bring Huu-ay-aht citizens home.
“During the pandemic, we had to make decisions that were often difficult, but they were necessary in order to keep our citizens safe, especially those in our remote community,” explained Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “Our sacred principles of ʔiisaak, ʔuuʔałuk, and Hišuk ma c̕awak guide us in our decisions, and I am pleased to hear the province is offering support to help us recover from what has been a tough year for many of us.”
For a full details and a list of all of the projects funded through the Rural Economic Recovery, please refer to the provincial release: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2020-2024/2021FLNRO0010-000310.htm