Look out for some new signage around Fort St. James in the fall of 2015, when close to three dozen directional and informational signs will be put in place. “The signs were part of our Tourism Strategy,” says District EDO Emily Colombo. She adds that they were also necessary because of the growing population of Fort St. James. “Between 2006 and 2011 our population increased by 25%; the second fastest growing community in the province. More and more people are moving to town.”
The signs have been made possible by a grant from the Northern BC Tourism Association Community Tourism Opportunities program, to help provide “wayfinding signage”. In addition to pointing out places within the Fort (such as the library, bike park, tennis courts, fire hall, arena, and more), signs will show the way to the Nordic trails at Murray Ridge, the Kokanee salmon run near Sowchea Creek, and the scenic drive from the National Historic Site to Stones Bay Road and then to Mt. Pope. There will also be signs for places such as the Sailing Club, Our Lady of Good Hope church, the cemetery trails, and Sowchea Provincial Park, as well as signs giving directions to various locations.
The purpose of the grant—which pays for 50% of the costs of the project—was to “develop and implement a wayfinding system in Fort St. James providing directional signage to instruct tourists on key locations and traffic flows.” Colombo says that the District’s Tourism Committee, which includes Ruth Lloyd and Bob Grill, did drives around the town and identified locations where signage was needed, as well as what information needed to be on the signs.
The signs are ready to go, as soon as consultation has finished with BC 1 regarding any underground infrastructure where the signs are to be located. The necessary permits are also being obtained from the Ministry of Highways.
The Community Tourism Opportunities program is designed to assist communities that are in a position to implement their own tourism building initiatives. Eligible activities for CTO cost-shared funding must focus on incremental tourism related projects that are initiated by the community.