A COMMUNITY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PLAN The District of Fort by saj38576

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									A COMMUNITY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PLAN
          The District of Fort St. James

                   Final Report




                   Prepared by

        Community Tourism Planning & Design
           Michael E. Kelly, AICP, MCIP
                    May 2007
                                                   SUMMARY


                 With thousands of communities considering entering or expanding their tourism
        industries, we have entered a new age of tourism: the age of specialization. With so many
        choices and information instantly at our finger tips, what does your community have that the
        traveller can’t get closer to home? What makes your town a special trip? – Brooks and
        Forman 2003


        This document reports on a tourism planning process undertaken by the District
of Fort St. James in early 2007. The intent of the project was to consider and recommend
ways:
        •        “To increase visitation [to Fort St. James],” and
        •        “Of providing an incentive to further explore Fort St. James by those who
                 visit the National Historic Site and [the] campgrounds around Fort St.
                 James.”
        A situation analysis was conducted in order to gain an understanding of the
existing level of tourism activity and its consequence on the community. This assessment
revealed:
        •        In terms of the dimensions of tourism supply, demand, and consequence,
                 Fort St. James is strategically well positioned to develop its tourism
                 economy; and
        •        Even though it has an internationally branded anchor attraction (the Fort
                 St. James National Historic Site) that draws well over 10,000 visitors
                 annually and five community events each year that attract up to 1,000
                 visitors each, the District of Fort St. James and the surrounding region is
                 not a market ready tourism destination.
        Four immediate and one mid- to long-term principled action recommendation
areas were identified as a result of situation analysis:


                                                    -i-
•      Immediate Term Action Areas
       •          Regional Organization & Leadership
       •          Promotion/Marketing
       •          Community Land Use
       •          Liability Insurance
•      Mid- & Long-Term Action Areas
       •          Land Use & Destination Design
Specific major recommendations contained in the report include:
•      Create, with adjacent local and First Nation governments, a Fort St. James
       Regional Tourism Authority (Recommendation 1);
•      Establish a working relationship with the Northern BC Tourism Associa-
       tion (Recommendation 2);
•      Develop and distribute two Fort St. James regional tourism information
       brochures, one for the summer season and one for winter) (Recommenda-
       tion 2);
•      Move the Visitor Information Centre from its current location to a store
       front location in the community business core area along the northeast
       side of Stuart Drive West (Recommendation 3);
•      Demolish the former library building and landscape the area to:
       •          enhance it for green space and public use; and
       •          enhance the views of Stuart Lake and mountain backdrop from the
                  business core (Recommendation 3); and
•      Undertake, with adjacent local, First Nation and senior governments, a
       Stuart Lake & River shore front development planning process (Recom-
       mendation 5); and
•      Elaborate existing tourism policy that is contained in the Official Commu-
       nity Plan (Recommendations 3 and5).




                                        -ii-
                                              TABLE OF CONTENTS


SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i

TABLE OF CONTENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
     COMMUNITY BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
     PLANNING APPROACH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
          Background Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
          Supply-Demand-Consequence Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
          Community Planning Workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

SITUATION ANALYSIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
     SUPPLY-DEMAND-CONSEQUENCE ASSESSMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
     ATTRACTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
     VISITOR SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     TRAVEL MARKETS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     COMMUNITY IDENTIFIED CHALLENGES & ISSUES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     LAND USE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

STRATEGIC ACTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     ACTION PRINCIPLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     IMMEDIATE ACTIONS (2007-08) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
           Recommendation 1: Regional Organization & Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . 15
           Recommendation 2: Promotion/Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
           Recommendation 3: Community Land Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
           Recommendation 4: Liability Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     MID- & LONG-TERM ACTIONS (2008-09 & BEYOND) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
           Recommendation 5: Land Use & Destination Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

ABBREVIATIONS GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

APPENDICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     Appendix 1. Supply-Demand-Consequence Assessment
     Appendix 2. Public Planning Workshop Documentation


                                                             -iii-
                                           INTRODUCTION


               The development of tourism in Fort St. James can be characterized by an ad hoc
       approach. But tourism is an industry like any other and requires sound planning and a firm
       commitment from the community to make it work. – The District of Fort St. James 2006


       This document reports on a tourism planning process undertaken by the District
of Fort St. James in early 2007. The project was managed by Anna Hughes, Economic
Development Officer for the District. Michael E. Kelly, AICP, MCIP and Beverly
Suderman (Community Tourism Planning & Design) of Duncan, BC provided consultant
research and public planning facilitation services. The project was financed through a
Community Tourism Phase I Entitlements grant from the Union of British Columbia
Municipalities.
       The intent of the project, as it was specified in the original Request for Proposals,
was to consider and recommend ways:
       •       “To increase visitation,” and
       •       “Of providing an incentive to further explore Fort St. James by those who
               visit the National Historic Site and [the] campgrounds around Fort St.
               James.”


COMMUNITY BACKGROUND
       The District of Fort St. James is a municipal government with governance and
planning authority for 22.1 sq km of land located in east central British Columbia (Figure
1). Fort St. James is at the terminus of Provincial Highway 27, and is situated at the
southeast end of Stuart Lake near its outlet into the Stuart River. The Stuart Lake/River
watershed is part of the Fraser River drainage. The Nak’azdli First Nation occupies a 3.1
sq km Indian Reserve (Necoslie IR 1) also at the southeast end of Stuart Lake and


                                                  -1-
Figure 1. East Central British Columbia.


adjacent to the District of Fort St. James.
       Fort St. James came into existence in 1806 as Northwest Company trading post.
The Hudson’s Bay Company acquired the post in 1821 and continued to operate it until
1952. By the mid 1950's, most of the HBC land had been sold to community residents for
residential and commercial development. In 1972 the remaining HBC land and buildings
were turned over to Parks Canada. Parks Canada has since restored the site to interpret
the 1890's period of its occupancy.
       In the 1850's gold was discovered near Fort St James, and between ten and twenty
thousand prospectors flooded into the region. Most of them did not stay long and
population dropped back to less than a thousand people. In the years following the gold
rush, other mineral resources were found and mining again became an important activity
until the mid 1950' when most of the mines closed. Forestry then took over. Concurrent
with the growth in mining, float plane based air transportation became an important


                                              -2-
economic activity. Now helicopters are used to service both the mining and forestry
industries from Fort St. James.
       Modern census figures (Statistics Canada 1996, 2001, 2006) show a 10 year
decline in population from 2,046 to 1,355 (-33.8%) for the District of Fort St. James.
During the same period the Nak’azdli population declined from 511 to 495 (-3.1%).
There are an estimated 500 to 1,000 people living in nearby surrounding areas (25 km
radius). Thus the total population for the Fort St. James region can be estimated at
between 2,350 and 2,850.


PLANNING APPROACH
       Several approaches were used in this study to gain an understanding of the current
state of tourism development (see next section: Situational Analysis) in Fort St. James.
Except for the Fort St. James National Historic Site, the area generally lacks rigorous,
quantitative tourism survey research: statistically valid data on visitor value, volume,
flows, origins, spending, and preferences. As a result, the data gathered for this study are
largely qualitative and anecdotal.


Background Documents
       Several provincial government plans bear significantly on all future tourism
development in the Fort St. James region. One of these is the Fort St. James Land and
Resource Management Plan which was originally approved in 1999. Relevant sections of
the plan as related to tourism include: Section 3.0 General Management Direction:
particularly Sub-section 3.14 Tourism; and Section 4.0 Resource Management Zones:
particularly Sub-sections 4.5 Fort St. James Resource Management Zone and 4.6 Mt.
Pope Resource Management Zone (Protected Area). A follow up study, the Fort St.
James LRMP: Tourism Opportunities Analysis, was prepared for the then Ministry of
Small Business, Tourism, and Culture in 2000 (Clover Point Cartographics/Meredith and
Associates 2000). The LRMP and TOS coordinate the future actions of all provincial
ministries and spell out specific development goals and objectives for the planning area:


                                             -3-
Excerpts From the Fort St. James LRMP

Objective — Manage for a variety of tourism recreation experiences across the landscape and
within each Resource Management Zone:
         •       Identify visual management areas, to manage the aesthetic characteristics of
                 wilderness-based tourism recreation (including angling, hunting, wildlife
                 viewing and water-based recreation),
         •       Endorse the diversification of tourism opportunities where appropriate, and
         •       Identify, survey and map heritage and existing trails/sites, documenting their
                 existing value(s), seasonality of use and type of use (i.e., hiking, bicycling,
                 ATV use, motor biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing).

Objective — Maintain the quality of tourism activities:
        •      Provide access to tourism areas that are consistent with the recreational
               experience of the site (i.e., good roaded access to a boat launch, trail
               development along a portage route),
        •      Consider ‘sound sensitive’ areas when conducting resource development and
               tourism activities,
        •      Consider ‘sensitive recreational experiences’ in resource development and
               tourism activities. Use public participation to determine appropriate types of
               adjacent buffers (i.e., strip harvesting along a viewscape),
        •      Address effects of tourism activities on ecological integrity (i.e., wildlife
               disruption, damage to plant communities, water quality), and
        •      In tourism planning, consider compatibility of existing values relative to
               present and potential trail and site uses and users.

Objective — Maintain opportunities for tourism operations and development.
        •      Develop a Tourism Plan that recognizes and provides for a variety of tourism
               opportunities. Where appropriate:
               •         maintain opportunities for diversification,
               •         maintain opportunities for current operations,
               •         ensure new tourism developments consider other resource uses,
               •         where appropriate and determined by public demand, encourage the
                         development of new accommodations, and
               •         ensure new or secondary access considers the management intent of
                         the area, and
        •      Prior to the development of a Tourism Plan, develop interim management
               strategies which recognize the above-noted strategies.

Objective — Increase communication and consultation levels between tourism operations and
other resource users.

Objective — Evaluate Commercial Backcountry Recreation (CBR) proposals with
environmental, economic, and social criteria consistent with provincial legislation, policies, and
local planning processes.

Objective — Provide opportunities for tourism operations and development:
        •      Encourage the development of new accommodations as warranted by public
               demand, and in consideration of other resource values.

                                                        (BC Agriculture and Lands 1999)



                                                -4-
        The new Tourism Action Plan released by BC Tourism, Sport and the Arts (2007)
intends to double the value of tourism in the province from $9.8 billion (2005 level) to
$18 billion by 2015. It places considerable emphasis on:
        •      Development & Investment
               •      creating a positive business climate,
               •      increasing tourism investment,
               •      maximizing tourism potential of Crown assets, and
               •      developing and expanding BC’s cultural attractions;
        •      Access & Infrastructure
               •      coordinating investments,
               •      facilitating hassle-free entry to BC, and
               •      easing travel around BC;
        •      Marketing & Promotion
               •      clarifying roles and enhancing coordination,
               •      attracting more visitors and increasing length of stay,
               •      leveraging the 2010 Winter Games,
               •      focussing on emerging markets and products,
               •      promoting parks and outdoor recreation, and
               •      promoting Aboriginal tourism.
        More locally the District of Fort St. James Official Community Plan (2001)
recognizes tourism for both its economic value and its linkage to outdoor recreation, but
only one of the six municipal policies contained in Section 11.0 RECREATION AND
TOURISM of the current OCP relates to tourism:
        •      It is the policy of Council to develop and promote the District of Fort St.
               James as a major tourist destination.
        The 2005 Fort St. James Annual Report stipulated goals and objectives for 2006
and 2007. For both years tourism related community goals and objectives included the
desire to:
        •      Relocate the VIC to a more suitable location,
        •      Develop a trail from the Fort St. James NHS into the downtown area, and

                                            -5-
       •       Change and improve the appearance of the downtown core.


Supply-Demand-Consequence Assessment
       The initial fieldwork included for this project included preparation of Community
Tourism Supply-Demand-Consequence Assessment (Palermo et al. 2000). Data for an
SDC assessment is based on interviews with a few key community informants. These
data are compiled into a standard presentation format (Appendix 1) and are intended to
stimulate community discussion. The analysis provides both a comprehensive overview
and strategic insight into a community’s position with respect to existing and potential
tourism development.


Community Planning Workshop
       A facilitated community planning workshop took place in Fort St. James on
Tuesday, March 20, 2007 (Appendix 2). Fifteen people from around the region with
various interests in tourism participated. In the morning, breakout groups identified and
prioritized current challenges and issues facing Fort St. James in terms of developing
tourism. Before lunch, the group watched the video Keys to Successful Tourism Develop-
ment: Lessons from Niagra and, over lunch, discussed its application to Fort St. James.
The afternoon breakouts focussed on developing immediate and mid-term action
strategies that would improve and increase tourism in Fort St. James.




                                            -6-
                                    SITUATION ANALYSIS


                The community is situated on Stuart Lake, near the rolling hills of the Nechako
       Plateau that mark the southern edge of the Omineca Mountains. Both hunting and fishing
       are major sources of tourism in this district. Many canoeists head to the area as well,
       particularly to paddle the celebrated Nation Lakes Canoe Route. The area also has ample
       hiking and camping activities throughout the region. – HelloBC 2007


       Notwithstanding the international significance and drawing power of the Fort St.
James NHS, tourism in Fort St. James for decades has been a secondary, even peripheral,
economic activity. Forestry and to a lesser extent mining have been the economic
mainstays of the community for the last sixty years. Recently however, tourism has
gained prominence in the perception of many community residents and there is a growing
interest in developing community attractions and improving visitors services with an eye
toward economic gain for the community and its residents.
       Even though Fort St. James enjoys a considerable flow of tourists drawn to the
region by the NHS, indoor and outdoor recreation experiences during summer and winter
seasons, and the fall large animal hunt, it is not a market ready tourist destination at this
time. Its market readiness is impeded by a lack of regional vision, and organizational
leadership and capacity. One critical concern is the quality of the community`s support-
ing services.


SUPPLY-DEMAND-CONSEQUENCE ASSESSMENT
       The strategic analysis afforded by the Fort St. James SDC Assessment suggests
Fort St. James is in an excellent position to encourage and sustain new tourism growth
(Appendix 1). In all three broad dimensions of community tourism development (Supply,
Demand, and Consequence), the external indicator scores place Fort St. James firmly in
opportunity positions on the right hand side of the analysis grids (Appendix 1:3). The


                                                 -7-
external indicators account for strategic threat and opportunity factors that are largely
beyond the control of the community, and thus difficult to change. Change is only
required if the scores fall into threat quadrants on the left hand side of the grids.
       The internal indicator scores in bottom quadrants of the analysis grids for two of
the three broad dimensions (Demand and Consequence) place Fort St. James in a position
of potential growth. The internal indicator scoring for Supply (an upper quadrant of the
analysis grid) suggests that an appropriate level of supporting infrastructure has been
achieved already by the community.
       This particular configuration of SDC assessment results is the most desirable
configuration possible when the community goal is to encourage tourism growth. With
thoughtful planning Fort St. James could be successful in growing a local tourism
economy. Developing a tourism economy could offer Fort St. James the means of
diversifying the broader local economy beyond its current reliance on forestry and
mining. To achieve this goal though, the task of marshalling critical community inputs
remains. These include planning and development controls; investment; entrepreneur-
ship; quality services; and a motivated labour force with well developed hosting skills.


ATTRACTIONS
       Fort St. James is in the fortunate position of having an internationally branded
anchor attraction located in the community: the Fort St. James NHS. This site is owned
and operated by Parks Canada which has invested over $14 million in restoration projects
and visitor improvements since it acquired the property in the early 1970's. Visitor
surveys conducted over th past 10 years (Grill 2007, McVetty2007, Thomlinson 2002)
show there was a 39.8 % decline in attendance from 1997 to 2004, but that it rebounded
sharply in 2006 (Figure 2). It has never fallen below 12,000 visitors per year. The site is
open only during the summer “rubber tire” touring season from mid-May to the end of
September each year. It takes approximately three hours to tour the site.




                                              -8-
                                                                                    Fort St. James National Historic Site
                                                                                         Visitor Counts 1997 - 2006
                        25,000



                                                                                                                                                              Annual Visitor Count
                                 2 0 , 0 16
                        20,000
                                                                                                                                                                  18 , 6 7 3
                                              17 , 6 17   17 , 8 7 6


                                                                       15 , 9 5 7
  Numbers of Visitors




                        15,000                                                          14 , 0 9 7

                                                                                                            12 , 3 12                            12 , 5 5 8
                                                                                                                        12 , 18 6   12 , 0 4 3



                        10,000




                         5,000




                            0
                                    1997        1998         1999        2000              2001              2002         2003        2004         2005             2006

                                                                                                     Year


Figure 2. NHS Visitor Counts 1997 to 2006.


                             Other heritage attractions found in Fort St. James (Appendix 1:2) commemorate
various aspects of local history. These attractions hold local and regional significance and
include Our Lady of Good Hope RC church, the Russ Baker memorial, and the Junkers
floatplane replica.
                             The 2005 Fort St. James NHS visitor survey (McVetty 2007) shows that nearly
30% of site visitors will do something else in the local area besides simply visit the site
and leave immediately afterwards. The most popular destination after visiting the site is
Cottonwood Park, a municipal park located on the lakefront at north end of the commu-
nity. It offers an array of recreational opportunities including overnight camping and
sanitary dump services to RV visitors, and a nearby marina. This park is the venue for the
annual Cottonwood Music Festival (2006 attendance - 1,115). Near the park as well there
is a nine hole golf course which 17% of the NHS visitors surveyed in 2005 used.
                             Fort St. James is a gateway for canoeists into a network of sheltered back country
lakes. Fall brings many hunters to the region. In winter the Murray Ridge ski hill is
popular with downhill and nordic skiers, and snowshoers. There is a network of groomed
snow machine trails in the vicinity which are maintained by Fort St. James snowmobilers.

                                                                                                     -9-
These trails can be used in the summer as well by hikers and ATV enthusiasts. Fort St.
James also has a curling rink and a large arena available for various sporting events.
There is an outdoor hockey rink on the adjacent Nak’azdli Reserve. These facilities draw
people from as far away as Prince George.
       One of Fort St. James’ tourism strengths lies in the five community events it puts
on each year. These are the Cottonwood Music Festival, Canada Day celebrations
(estimated annual attendance - 1000) the Stuart Lake Fishing Derby (2006 attendance -
400), Thunder On Ice snowmobile races (2007 attendance - 300), and the Caledonia
Classic Dog Sled Races.


VISITOR SERVICES
       Visitor services (Appendix 1:2) in Fort St. James are limited. There are two
motels, two lodges and two provincial parks listed as Tourism BC Approved Accommo-
dations (Tourism BC 2007). None of these facilities are rated by Tourism BC’s Canada
or Camping Select star ratings programs. There are no accommodations listed in travel
guides (print and web site) published by the Canadian Automobile Association.
       Food and beverage services in Fort St. James consist of six restaurants, one
recently opened breakfast/lunch deli, and three fast food outlets. In the words of one
workshop participant: “fine dining” was noted as a gap in the asset base. Except at the
NHS and the Visitor Information Centre where there are “gift shops,” tourist oriented
retail shopping opportunities for other than automotive supplies and minor staple goods
do not exist. Recreation guide/outfitter operators are no longer available in Fort St. James
because of the high cost of liability insurance. The Chamber of Commerce operates a
VIC on Highway 16 at the edge of the district municipal limits. It is open year round and
served 3,700 visitors in 2006 (Figure 3).




                                            -10-
                                                                         Fort St. James Visitor Info Centre
                                                                            Visitor Counts 1997 - 2006
                         14,000

                                            12 , 7 5 9
                                                                                                                              Annual Visitor Count
                         12,000




                         10,000
   Numbers of Visitors




                         8,000                                   7,600


                                                         6,391

                         6,000    5,503

                                                                            4,485
                                                                                           4,302
                                                                                                   4,032   4 , 10 9
                                                                                                                      3,852     3,699
                         4,000




                         2,000




                             0
                                   1997       1998        1999   2000        2001          2002    2003       2004    2005       2006

                                                                                    Year


Figure 3. VIC Visitor Counts 1997 to 2006


TRAVEL MARKETS
                              There are three distinct seasonal travel markets that come to Fort St. James each
year. These markets are:
                              •           Summer season “rubber tire” market;
                              •           Fall season hunters; and
                              •           Winter season sports and outdoor recreation market.
The most recent Parks Canada visitor survey (McVetty2007) further subdivides the
summer season market into three groups:
                              •           Sightseers;
                              •           Campers; and
                              •           Nature seekers




                                                                                -11-
COMMUNITY IDENTIFIED CHALLENGES & ISSUES
       In the challenges and issues discussions that took place in the two breakout
groups during the morning community planning workshop session, several priorities
emerged (listed in rank order of deemed importance):
       •       Selling community before arrival – i.e. advertising, marketing, and promo-
               tion;
       •       Liability insurance for adventure tourism operators;
       •       Signage (traffic direction, way finding, local information);
       •       Visual aesthetics/appeal of the community;
       •       Perception of visitor safety; and
       •       Visitor information centre.


LAND USE
       Current land use in Fort St James allocates visitor attractions to four separated
areas of the community: the Fort St James NHS, Cottonwood Park, the marina and the
team sports recreation area (Figure 4). Visitor services, on the other hand, are dispersed
throughout the commercial and business zone. The downtown area north of the NHS is
built out as a series of strip malls on the northeast side of Stuart Drive. Store fronts are
setback 10 to 15 metres from the road right-of-way. Paved, unlandscaped parking lots
interpose between the road and the buildings.
       On the other side of Stuart Drive, the lakefront and its associated view shed of
Stuart Lake with mountains in the distant background are blocked by commercial and
institutional structures fronting the street and poor landscaping.
       These lakefront and the view shed properties are significantly undervalued and
compromised community assets. If properly developed as public spaces, they would
significantly enhance both resident and tourist experiences of Fort St. James.




                                             -12-
Figure 4. Tourist Use Zones
                                      STRATEGIC ACTIONS


                Many small Canadian towns face significant social and economic change. ... For
       many resource-based towns interest in local planning is recent. As communities work to
       develop new opportunities, the community plan has taken on new importance and planning
       has become an integral part of defining a sense of community and articulating visions of
       sustainability. ..., planning is helping to outline community action and create strategies for
       responding to change. – Hanna 2007


       The strategic actions recommended below are designed to meet the goals of this
project as set out in the Request for Proposals (District of Fort St. James 2006). These
goals were to increase tourism in the region as a whole (a four season enhancement) and
to entice visitors coming to the Fort St. James NHS to extend their visit into downtown
area of Fort St. James (a summer season enchantment). Four immediate term and two mid
to long term action recommendations based on appropriate design principles have been
formulated and are presented. The principles are based on well established best practices.


ACTION PRINCIPLES
       During the planning workshop (Appendix 2) as mentioned earlier, a video was
shown to the participants. This video presented and discussed six best practices for
developing successful tourism in a region. These practices included:
       •        Create a unique sense of place
                •        with a gateway,
       •        Match appropriate products with target markets,
       •        Cluster attractions and services,
       •        Lay out effective transportation linkages
                •        that are clearly signed,
       •        Form partnerships, and

                                                   -14-
        •       Protect the environment.
        In the discussion that took place after watching the video, an informal consensus
emerged that these principles were appropriate to the Fort St. James situation. In the
recommendations that follow, each attempts to incorporate one or more of these best
practices.


IMMEDIATE ACTIONS (2007-08)
Recommendation 1: Regional Organization & Leadership
        While workshop participants ranked creating cooperation/partnership as their
second action priority, identifying regional tourism development stakeholders and, from
this group, forming a five to seven member tourism development committee is perhaps
the most crucial first step for increasing tourism in the region as a whole.
        This committee, which should be structured as an autonomous regional tourism
authority or development corporation, would be charged with providing the Fort St.
James region with the community capacity building leadership it needs to achieve the
project goal. It should be incorporated with relevant legal authorities delegated from the
District of Fort St. James, the Nak’azdli First Nation, and the Bulkley-Nechako Regional
District. It will need to be a full time, staffed operation so that it can provide the required
development focus and momentum.
        The first task for this authority would be to develop a community based, market
driven, comprehensive regional tourism vision and plan. From there the authority could
stimulate and coordinate investment in regional tourism projects, encourage local
entrepreneurship, set standards that would improve the quality of visitor services, and
encourage and reward labour force training. In so doing, the authority could promote
private, public, and voluntary sector partnerships.
        The authority’s work should be based on comprehensive planning and on market
research. The authority should research and identify desirable tourism and travel markets
for the Fort St. James region. Then through promotion programs it should stimulate
demand in these markets for the tourism opportunities and experiences that are or will


                                             -15-
become available in the region. Further, it should establish and grow a re-
gional/community brand and unique selling proposition based on an agreed upon
regional/community identity.



                                    ACTION STEPS
    What Action                  Who                 When                 Resources
 Secure participa-       Mayor                 Start: Immediate
 tory agreements                               Completion: July
 from the Nak’azdli                            2007
 FN and the
 Bulkley- Nechako
 RD


 Prepare a Memo-         Staff                 Start: Immediate      Staff time
 randum Of Under-                              Completion: July
 standing setting out                          2007
 the authorities to be
 delegated


 Prepare Memoran-        Staff                 Start: July 2007      Staff time
 dum of Agreement                              Completion: Au-
 setting out shared                            gust 2007
 costs funding com-
 mitments


 Develop up-to-date      Staff                 Start: Immediate      Staff time
 inventory of re-                              Completion: Au-
 gional tourism                                gust 2007
 stakeholders


 Review, debate &        Municipal and First   Start: August 2007    Council agenda
 adopt MOU &             Nation Councils       Completion: Sept-     time; Budget ap-
 MOA; create a re-                             ember 2007            propriations
 gional tourism au-
 thority




                                           -16-
Recommendation 2: Promotion/Marketing
       A full blown promotion and marketing program designed to increase regional and
local tourism appears inappropriate at the present time. Nevertheless there are several
actions that can be undertaken immediately which will pave the way for planning and
implementing future promotion and marketing programs. The most important action
would be to forge a closer, more involved, and sustained working relationship with the
Northern BC Tourism Association.
       The Northern BC Tourism Association recently adopted a stakeholder model for
the conduct of its business as the regional destination marketing organization for northern
British Columbia.1 Adoption of this new business model will result in greater tourism
promotion and marketing opportunity, flexibility, and reduced cost. Participation in the
Northern BC Tourism programs could lead to improvements in working together for the
mutual benefit of all regional tourism stakeholders.
       The Parks Canada 2005 Visitor Survey (McVetty 2007) suggests many visitors to
the NHS are basing their travel decision on print media and other information they
acquire while already on their trip and within a day or two of reaching Fort St. James.
This observation stresses the importance of blanketing the two day travel region around
Fort St. James during the summer months with an up-to-date attractions and services
information brochure. Strategic distribution points include Jasper, Prince George,
Vanderhoof, Smithers, Prince Rupert, and BC Ferries’ M.V. Northern Adventurer.
       Winter visitors are thought to be more local in origin than summer visitors and
winter recreation opportunities—skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, curling—are what
attract people to Fort St. James during this season. A second brochure emphasizing
winter activities and services should be developed and distributed in the close-in, single




1
       This business model was developed four years ago by Tourism Vancouver Island and has proven
       successful in increasing participation in the association’s marketing programs. This is achieved by
       eliminating association membership costs and charging regional tourism stakeholders only for their
       share of each marketing campaign in which they choose to participate. Details of the Stakeholder
       Model are available at: www.tourismvi.ca/org/stakeholder.php.


                                                 -17-
day travel market area. The key distribution points for this brochure would be Prince
George and Vanderhoof.



                                         ACTION STEPS
       What Action                  Who                   When               Resources
    Arrange and de-         District of FSJ -       Start: Immediate    Heather MacRea -
    liver a local stake-    EcDev Officer; Re-      Completion: Au-     Stakeholder Rela-
    holder programs         gional Tourism Au-      gust 2007           tions Coordinator,
    information work-       thority; Chamber of                         Northern BC Tour-
    shop                    Commerce; all re-                           ism
                            gional tourism
                            stakeholders


    Design, publish,        Regional Tourism        Start: Immediate    Association of Pro-
    and distribute two      Auhtority; Cham-        Completion: Sept-   fessional Brochure
    (one each for the       ber of Commerce         ember 2007          Distributors2
    summer & winter
    seasons) regional
    tourism opportuni-
    ties information
    rack brochures



Recommendation 3: Community Land Use
          One of the on-going community debates focusses on relocating the VIC and
consequently relocating the Chamber of Commerce office. The VIC/CC office is
currently located on Hwy 27 where visitors enter Fort St. James proper (the blue “ i ” in
Figure 4). During the public workshop, several issues were identified with the current site
and existing facility. These included security, occupational health and safety, and
functionality. One of the main drawbacks of the current site is its access. It is on the
“other” side of the road for most approaching users. It requires in-bound drivers to make




2
          www.apbd.org/distribution/canada.php

                                                 -18-
left hand turns across traffic in order to pull in to the site. Parking space is limited and
occurs ad hoc.
        Three alternatives to the present site have been proposed. These are to relocate the
VIC to:
        •        Cottonwood Park;
        •        The old library site; or
        •        15 km south on Hwy 27 near the large “Welcome to Fort St. James” sign.
Each of these solutions presumes moving the existing VIC log cabin to the new site
which leads to only partial resolution of the issues. Additional improvements such as
installation of public washrooms and adding storage space would be required to make the
structure fully functional.
        The existing site and two of the three proposed relocation sites, the old library site
being the exception, alienate Chamber of Commerce functions of the VIC/CC office
operation from the local business community. Integrating the VIC/CC office physically
into the community business core would be a positive remedial step. There is ample
vacant retail space in the strip malls along Stuart Drive West to accommodate a relocated
VIC/CC office. A few strip mall parking lot spaces in front of the VIC could be allocated
to tourist priority automobile parking and some spaces on the street defined and reserved
for RVs and tour buses.
        Relocating the VIC to the old library site poses access difficulties for in-bound
traffic similar or worse than those of the existing site. Moving the VIC into a strip mall
space would eliminate most access and parking difficulties for in-bound visitors (Figure
5).
        The engineering concerns of lake shore and bank instability that precipitated
relocation of the public library to its current site on Manson Street argue for rezoning and
redeveloping all the lake front land along Stuart Drive West. New land uses along the
lake front should emphasize public green space. Removing the old library building and
opening up the view shed would add considerable aesthetic and economic value to the
core business area (Figures 5 and 6) and could draw visitors at the NHS into the business
core.

                                             -19-
Figure 5. Recommended Enhancements of the Business Core
Existing and Potential Views from the Fort St. James Business Core



                                                                              WHAT YOU DO SEE




                                                                        WHAT YOU COULD SEE




                                                                     Figure 6. Existing and Potential Views
       Developing a multi modal community trail system is another on-going project in
Fort St. James. Several development phases of the system have been completed and two
more are being discussed and planned at the present time including one leading from the
NHS through the business core to Cottonwood Park (Figure 5). These trails will benefit
local residents and would add value to visitor experiences.
       Community work to revise the OCP for the District of Fort St. James began
recently. Thus there exists an opportunity to elaborate on the community’s policy
position in regard to tourism and include new language in the updated plan.



                                     ACTION STEPS
    What Action                 Who                  When                Resources
 Move VIC into a         Regional Tourism      Start: Immediate     Business & Corpo-
 vacant strip mall       Authority; Cham-      Completion: June     rate Contributions;
 retail space in FSJ     ber of Commerce       2007                 Municipal Grant to
 downtown business                                                  CC
 district


 Demolish old li-        District of FSJ       Start: Immediate     Municipal Budget
 brary facility; clear                         Completion: Spring   Appropriation or
 & grub site; land-                            2008                 Grant; Provincial
 scape area to en-                                                  Grant; Corporate
 hance scenic                                                       Contributions
 lake/mountain vis-
 tas


 Support completion      Mayor & Council;      Start: On going      Municipal Budget
 of on-going com-        Staff                                      Appropriation or
 munity trail devel-                                                Grant; Provincial
 opment between                                                     Grant; Corporate
 FSJ NHS & Cot-                                                     Contributions
 tonwood Park


 Elaborate on tour-      OCP Planning team     Start: Immediate
 ism related policy
 language for re-
 vised the OCP

                                            -22-
Recommendation 4: Liability Insurance
       Workshop participants raised liability insurance as an important issue for
developing tourism in the Fort St. James region. Operator liability is a tourism business
issue and as such is beyond the scope of this study.
       The high cost and provision of tourism operator liability insurance in British
Columbia has been addressed by the Council of Tourism Associations (COTA).3 The
Fort St. James Chamber of Commerce might pursue this issue with COTA and appropri-
ate provincial authorities (Tourism BC and the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts)
on behalf of its members.


MID- & LONG-TERM ACTIONS (2008-09 & BEYOND)
Recommendation 5: Land Use & Destination Design
       Continuing from RECOMMENDATION 3: Community Land Use made in the
Immediate Actions section above, several long term actions become apparent. The most
significant of these would be for the District of Fort St. James, the Nak’azdli First Nation,
the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, appropriate BC Government ministries, and
Parks Canada to undertake a joint comprehensive lake front land use and development
planning process. The objective of this exercise would be to create a shared vision and an
ability to control all future land use, development, enhancement, and conservation
interventions along the Stuart Lake/River shoreline. The planning area should reach from
the Stuart River bridge area on the Highway 27 to the Cottonwood Marina. Outcomes of
such a process could be:
       •       Adoption of a set of multi jurisdiction overlay zoning bylaws that would
               lead to regionally consistent decisions for future development of the lake
               and river frontages, and
       •       A property buyback program to assemble privately held land for public
               use and redevelopment.



3
       www.cotabc.com/business_services/index.aspx

                                             -23-
       Reclaiming all privately held lake front and shoreline properties along Stuart
Drive West from the NHS boundary to Cottonwood Park and redeveloping them for
public use would bring many visitors and residents alike to the lake front area. Because
of the area’s proximity to the business core across the street, there would likely be
spillover economic benefit for the business community as well.
       The discussions of current land use in Fort St. James have pointed out the
separation of tourism and recreational land uses from the business core (Figure 4). In this
case separation of uses works against massing and clustering tourism attractions and
services which leads to lost economic opportunity. In addition the current approach to
urban design in the business core emphasizes generic strip mall development. This kind
of development is generally not attractive to tourists except as they may need to procure
everyday travel necessities such as gasoline or groceries. Generic strip mall development
works against creating an authentic sense of place and reduces the attractiveness of the
business core to travellers.
       It has also been noted that in Fort St. James tourism businesses are dispersed
throughout the entire commercial and business district. As a rule of thumb, a vital
community tourism destination should follow a 10+10+10 destination design principle
(Brooks and Forman 2003). This rule suggests there be a minimum of 10 destination
retail shops, 10 eating and snacking venues, and 10 places open after 6 PM in a reach of
three lineal blocks in order to achieve a critical mass necessary to create a vital tourism
destination.




                                            -24-
                                ACTION STEPS
   What Action              Who                   When               Resources
Create a compre-      District of FSJ;      Start: January 2008
hensive, multi ju-    Nak’azdli FN;         Completion: De-
risdiction Stuart     Bulkley-Nechako       cember 2008
Lake/River shore-     RD; BC Gov’t.;
line land use plan    Parks Canada;
                      community mem-
                      bers


Work to create a      Council; Chamber      Start: On going       OCP augmented by
community iden-       of Commerce;                                a Business Core
tity/image; cluster   Community                                   Plan; Zoning By-
tourism attractions                                               law; Development
and services in the                                               Permit Review
business core area
along Stuart Drive
West




                                         -25-
                                         REFERENCES


BC Agriculture and Lands
       1999    Fort St. James Land and Resource Management Plan. Integrated Land
               Management Bureau: http://ilmbwww.gov.bc.ca/lup/lrmp/northern/
               ftstjames/plan/toc.htm.
BC Tourism, Sport and the Arts
       2007    Tourism Action Plan: http://www.tsa.gov.bc.ca/tourism/docs/
               tourism_action_plan.pdf.
Brooks, Roger A. And Maury Forman
       2003    YOUR TOWN A DESTINATION: 25 Immutable Rules of Successful
               Tourism. Destination Development Inc. and Washington State Dept. of
               Community, Trade & Economic Development
Clover Point Cartographics/Meredith and Associates
       2000    Fort St. James LRMP: Tourism Opportunities Analysis. Integrated Land
               Management Bureau:
               http://ilmbwww.gov.bc.ca/cis/initiatives/tourism/tos/
               Ft_St_James/ftstjames.pdf.
District of Fort St. James
       2001    Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 737, 2001
       2005    Annual Report
       2006 Request for Proposals.
Grill, Bob (Superintendent, Fort St. James NHS)
       2007    Pers. Comm.
Hanna, Kevin



                                            -26-
       2007 (Spring) Successful downtowns: some experiences from Vancouver Island,
                        Plan Canada.
HelloBC
       2007    www.hellobc.com/en-CA/RegionsCities/FortSt.James.htm
McVetty, Dave
       2007    Final Results: The 2005 Survey of Visitors to Fort St. James NHS. Parks
               Canada.
Palermo, Frank et al.
       2001    Tourism and Community Development: An Approach. Cities &
               Environment Unit, Faculty of Architecture, Dalhousie University.
Statistics Canada
       1996, 2001, and 2006
               Community Profiles for Fort St. James (DM) and Nak’azdli (Necoslie 1).
               http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/profiles/
               community/Index.cfm?Lang=E.
Thomlinson, Eugene
       2002    Fort St. James NHS 2002 Entrance Survey with data from 1994 to 2000.
               Parks Canada.
Tourism BC
       2007    British Columbia Approved Accommodation Guide.




                                          -27-
                  ABBREVIATIONS GLOSSARY


ATV    All Terrain Vehicle
BC     British Columbia
CC     Chamber of Commerce
FN     First Nation
FSJ    Fort St. James
DM     District Municipality
LRMP   Land and Resources Management Plan
NHS    National Historic Site
OCP    Official Community Plan
RD     Regional District
SDC    Supply-Demand-Consequence
TOS    Tourism Opportunity Study
VIC    Visitor Information Centre




                                    -28-
APPENDICES




 -29-
Appendix 1. Supply-Demand-Consequence
Assessment
 Tourism & Community
 Development
 Tourism Supply Demand Consequences                                                                                                                                                                                                                             INTERVENTION
 Community Assessment                                                                      SUPPLY                                                       DEMAND                                                    CONSEQUENCES                                     ACTION
                     DISTRICT OF FORT                                                                     Service
                                                                                                         (Internal)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Fort St. James region is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                endowed with a richness of
                            ST. JAMES                                                                  High-Strength                                                                                                                                            high demand cultural and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                natural heritage, and outdoor
                                             March 2007
                                                                                                        Attraction                                                                                                                                              recreational opportunities.
                                                                                                        (External)                                                                                                                                              Demand coupled with
                                                                                                     High-Opportunity                                                                                                                                           resources is a precondition of




                                                              Services




                                                                                                                                                                                              Benefits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                successful tourism




                                                                                                                               Local
                                     British Columbia                                                                                                                                                                                                           development.
                                                                                                                                                                      Local Market                                                        Benefits
                                                 Canada                                                                                                                 (Internal)                                                       (Internal)             The most critical challenge
                                                                                                                                                                      Low-Growth                                                        Low-Growth              for tourism development in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the Fort St. James region,
                                                                                                                                                                     Global Trend                                                       Resilience              though, lies in creating
                                                                                                                                                                       (External)                                                        (External)             organizational capacity and
                                                                                                                                                                    High-Increasing                                                    High-Strength            leadership. A regional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                authority created by the local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                municipal and First Nation
                                                                                          Attractions                                                       Global                                                         Resilience                           governments of the region
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                could provide the needed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                catalyst to plan and promote
                                COMMUNITY TYPES:                                  Museum / Built Artifact                                   Special Interest / Education                                               Inconsequential                          tourism.
                                                                                                                                                Social / Recreation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Collaboration and
 Population:                      Stats Canada 2007                                                                                                                                                                                                             partnership will be
                                             1,355                       The Fort St. James National Historic Site is the                                                                                Until recently, tourism in the Fort St. James region
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                prerequisite for the District
                                                                         anchor attraction of the region. Restored to its                                                                                has been viewed as being of little consequence.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                of Fort St. James, the
 Location:                     Central Interior of BC                    appearance in the 1890's and with guides in period                                                                              Changing fortunes in the forestry industry have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Regional District of Bulkley-
                                                                         dress, the site can be toured in about three hours.                                                                             altered this view.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nechako and the Nak’azdli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                First Nation in developing a
                                                                         The District of Fort St. James provides the basic                                                                               Local benefits (economic, social, cultural, and
 Accessibility:                                Highway                   services (hospital and waste water treatment)                                                                                   environmental) from tourism have been few and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                successful regional tourism
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                program.
                                                                         necessary to support tourism development in the                                                                                 not actively sought. They amount to less than
                                                                         region. In addition there is a local RCMP                                                                                       $200/local resident. There is considerable potential
 Industry:                                      Forestry                 detachment. There is ample room for development                                                                                 for the community and community businesses to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A regional tourism authority
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                could stimulate and
                                                                         of additional community amenities (walking, trails,                                                                             capture new benefits without becoming completely
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                coordinate investment in
                                                                         parks, lakefront improvements, etc.). There is also                                                                             dependent on tourism as the base economy of the
 Annual Visitors:             FSJ NHS 2006                               ample opportunity for private sector investment in                                                                              community.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                regional tourism projects,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                encourage            local
                (May to September operation)                             high quality tourism services (accommodation,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                entrepreneurship, set
                                     18,700                              food & beverage, and retail) and in “good host”                                                                                 The natural environment in the Fort St. James
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                standards that would
                                                                         staff training.                                               At present, even in high season, the region is not                region is relatively robust. The most threatening
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                improve the quality of visitor
                                                                                                                                       overwhelmed with tourists; daily resident to tourist              development is the Pine Beetle infestation of BC’s
                  into FSJ Region from the NHS                                                                                                                                                                                                                  services, and encourage and
                                                                         Many people willingly travel more than three hours            ratios probably never exceed 1:1 (this needs to be                northern forest resulting climate warming. There
              (Approx 30% of the NHS visitation)                         to arrive at Fort St. James. In 2005, nearly 70% of           verified through survey research). Thus there is                  is significant potential for loss of visually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                reward labour force training.
                                          5,600                          visitors surveyed at the NHS were non- resident               ample room for tourism growth.                                    appealing landscapes in the region as a result.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aboriginal tourism will be an
                                                                         (not from BC) travellers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                important policy focus of
                  Visitor Information Centre 2006                                                                                      Demand for the tourism potential of the region is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                provincial government policy
                                            3,699                                                                                      on the rise. Beyond the NHS, which attracts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                in the coming years. BC’s
                                                                                                                                       significant numbers of people during the summer,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aboriginal tourism is in
                                                                                                                                       the region offers many year round outdoor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                extreme demand and will be
                                                                                                                                       recreation opportunities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                highlighted as a unique
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                selling proposition (USP).


Research design after Palermo, Frank et al., 2001, Tourism and Community Development: An Approach. Cities & Environment Unit, Faculty of Architecture, Dalhousie University
Tourism & Community Development
Tourism Supply Demand Consequences Community Assessment


District of Fort St. James - March 2007
BACKGROUND                                                      TOURISM FACTORS                                                                     TOURISM IMPACT
r information gathering                                         r why tourism is pursued                                                            r measuring outcomes of tourism
COMMUNITY            TOURISM              PUBLIC ACTION         ATTRACTIONS           ACCESSIBILITY      PROMOTION            FACILITIES &          TOURISTS            CHANGE         DISTRIBUTION       LOCAL                 OFF-SEASON
PROFILE              STRATEGY             r actions taken to    r what is special &   r how accessible   r making the world   SERVICE               r tourist profile   r how          OF $               CONSEQUENCES          r what happens in
r image of the       r stated intent to   implement plan        unique                is the place       aware of the place   r what services       & interests         community      r direct tourist   r positive/negative   the off-season
community            attract tourists                                                                                         exist                                     changed        $                  consequences of
                                                                                                                                                                                                          tourism
Location             Tourism Plan         Total $ Invested      Culture               Land               Efforts              Tours                 Visitor             Physical       To Private         Employment            Rhythm of
r British Columbia   r None existing      r DFSJ Cottonwood     r Nak’azdli           r Highway 16/27    r FSJ Visitor        r Nu Yiz Boat         Annually            Changes        Business           r                     Visitation
r Central Interior   for DFSJ             Park & Marina - $??   Heritage              r                  Centre               Tours (may not        r NHS 2006 -        r improved     r Motels &         r                     r peak: Summer
r                    r OCP (2001)         r FSJ NHS - $14       r Pictographs         r                  r Stuart Nechako     operate in 2007)      18,670              recreational   restaurants        r                     r low: W inter
                     contains some        Million               r                                        Region website       r                     r VIC -3,700        facilities     revenues                                 r shoulder: Fall
                     policy               r Murray Hill - $??                                            r Regional print     r                     r                   r RV           r                                        hunting
                     r DFSJ Annual        r ProvParks - $??                                              media & road signs                                             campsites      r
                     Rpt. 2006/07 -                                                                      r Northern BC
Regional Context                          Organizations         Recreation            Water                                   Local                 Origin              Economic       To                 Tourism               Residents
                     VIC & waterfront                                                                    Tourism (FSJ NHS
r Stuart Lake                             r FSJ Chamber         r Camping             r Float Plane                           Transportation        r NHS - Int’l       Changes        Municipality       Infrastructure        r Forestry
                     walkway                                                                             is the only local
r Upper Fraser                            r Caledonian Dog      r Boating             r                                       r                     37%; USA            r              r User fees        r extended use of     r
                     r FSJ NHS                                                                           member)
Basin watershed                           Sled Club             r Hiking              r                                       r                     11%; CAN            r              from park &        local amenities       r
                     Management                                                                          r
r                                         r Music Festival &    r Golf                                                        r                     19%; BC 33%         r              marina             r
                     Plan (2002)                                                                         r
                                          Arts Council          r Skiing                                                                                                               r                  r
                     r FSJ Forest
Population           District LRMP        Services              History               Distance from      Target Markets       Stores                Group Size,         Social         To Poor            Environment           Infrastructure
r FSJ 1,355 (2006    (1999) & LRMP        r VIC (year round)    r Rich Local          Urban Centre       r 3 “Rubber Tire”    r                     Average Age,        Changes        r                  r                     r Covered with
Census)              TOS (2000)           r Parks Canada        Settlement History    r 160 km (Prince   Variants (FSJ NHS    r                     Gender              r Festivals    r                  r                     Snow
r Nak’azdli 495      r                    Visitor Centre        r HBC Fur Traders     George             2005-summer bias):   r                     r                   activities -   r                  r                     r
(2006 Census)                             (seasonal)            cemetery              r                  r Sightseers                               r                   whole                                                   r
r                                         r                     r                     r                  r Campers                                  r                   community
                                                                                                         r Nature seekers                                               involvement
Median Family        Time Frame           Controls              Natural               Distance from      Extent of            Restaurants           Spending            Land                              Technology
Income               r                    r OCP & Zoning By-    Environment           Major Airport      Promotion            r 6 Family style      r                   Ownership                         r
r $61,700 (2006)     r                    law                   r Stuart Lake &       r 160 km           r Regional           r 3 Fast Food         r                   r                                 r
r                    r                    r Business District   outlet rivers         r                  r National           r                     r                   r                                 r
r                                         Devel Permiting       r Mount Pope          r                  r                                                              r
                                          r                     (Nak’al)
Public               Immediate            Events & Festivals    Built Environment                        Direct               Accommodation         Overnight                                             Education
Expenditure per      Action               r Cottonwood Music    r FSJ National                           Expenditures         r Motel/Hotel 3       Stays                                                 r
Resident             r Move VIC           Festival              Historic Site                            r Brochures -        r Lodges 2            r < 25%of                                             r
r $2,360 (2006)      r W aterfront        r Fishing Derby       r Our Lady of                            $2,000 (Chamber)     r Campgrounds 4       potential over-                                       r
r                    walkway -            r Farmers Mkts.       Good Hope Church                         r                                          night market is
r                    continue             r Dog Sled Races      r Marina/Arena                           r                                          captured
                     construction         r Thunder on Ice      r Ski Hill/Golf                                                                     r
                                          Snowmobile Races      Course                                                                              r
Predominant          Short-term                                                                          Indirect                                   Length of                                             Social Services
Industry             Ambition                                                                            Expenditures                               Stay                                                  r
r Forestry           r                                                                                   r                                          r 3 hrs                                               r
r Gov’t Services     r                                                                                   r                                          r                                                     r
Municipal            Larger Vision                                                                       Private Promotion    Private Initiatives   Tourist to
Planning             r                                                                                   r                    r                     Resident
Strategy             r                                                                                   r                    r                     Ratio per day
r OCP 2001           r                                                                                   r                                          r peak: <1:1
(update required)                                                                                                                                   rlow:
Notes:
                                                                                 TourIsm & CommunIty Development


      Supply-Demand-Consequence Analysis                                           and thus provides a quickly perceived visual representation of the                    Community Type Categories - Consequence:
                                                                                   community situation. The three grids, together with the community                     #   Enabling, e.g. tourism is a catalyst for community
              An Interpretive Guide
                                                                                   type categorizations, lead to suggestions of appropriate local action and                 development
                                                                                   intervention.                                                                         #   Inconsequential, e.g. tourism makes no measurable
       The Supply-Demand-Consequence (SDC) Analysis1 is a
                                                                                                                                                                             difference
planning tool designed to give planners and stake holders a means of
rapidly assessing existing economic, social and environmental condi-               SUPPLY                                                                                #   Excluding, e.g. bars local people from access to commu-
                                                                                          Internal Key Indicators: Service - provision of basic public                       nity resources
tions of a community that result from the development or underdevel-
                                                                                   services indicates an internal precondition for tourism: absence (low)                #   Friction, e.g. tourism is an irritant and creates local
opment of tourism. The tool looks at three dimensions of variability:
                                                                                   or presence (high) of a hospital or similar emergency medical services                    disharmony
       #      supply (What does the community provide?),
                                                                                   within a one hour drive of the community and absence (low) or                         #   Dependence, e.g. community is economically dependent
       #      demand (Why do visitors come?), and
                                                                                   presence (high) of waste water/sewage treatment in the community.                         on tourism
       #      consequence (What difference does tourism make?).
                                                                                                                                                                         #   Destructive, e.g. tourism is destructive to the environ-
                                                                                           External Key Indicator: Attraction - willingness of visitors                      ment and/or social fabric of the community
       Design of the SDC Analysis protocol was based on CIDA
funded case study research conducted in the Maritimes (Canada) and                 to travel indicates an external precondition for tourism. If most visitors
in Brazil. The approach investigates a community through key                       on any given day during peak season are unwilling to travel three or           REPRESENTATION
informant interviews and specific quantitative and qualitative indicator           more hours to the community, than Attraction is scored as low. If they                Generally speaking, each quadrant of the SDC strategic analysis
data. These data are presented in three reports:                                   will travel more than three hours, than Attraction is scored as high.          grid (Figure 1) can be ascribed a development meaning:
       #      a case study narrative,
       #      an indicators matrix, and                                                   Community Type Categories - Supply:                                            #      Q1: Appropriate - Ample services and significant
       #      a strategic analysis.                                                       #   Natural Spectacle, e.g. Grand Canyon                                              attraction; high demand globally and locally; unimpaired
                                                                                          #   Museum / Built Artifact, e.g. Venice, Pyramids                                    environment and measurable benefits being returned to
As the narrative and matrix reports are self-explanatory, this guide will                 #   Pilgrimage / Reputation, e.g. Bethlehem, Carnival in                              the community. Tourism is working well at this level;
focus on interpreting the strategic analysis report.                                          Rio, Disney, “Must See” places                                                    judicious expansion is possible if planned thoughtfully.
                                                                                          #   Resort / Company Town, e.g. Club Med                                       #      Q2: Potential - Room for improvement in services,
                                                                                          #   Package / Buffet, e.g. Castles on the Rhine                                       marketing and/or capturing benefits, all areas within
SUPPLY-DEMAND-CONSEQUENCE                                -    STRATEGIC
                                                                                          #   Incidental, e.g. University towns, Border towns, Prison                           development control of the community.
ANALYSIS REPORT                                                                               towns                                                                      #      Q3: Inappropriate - Little in the community is of
                                                                                                                                                                                attraction and the service infrastructure is limited, global
       The SDC strate-                                                             DEMAND                                                                                       demand for the tourism type is stagnant or in decline, the
gic analysis report is                                                                                                                                                          environment is fragile and/or there is over dependence
                                                                                          Internal Key Indicator: Local Market - evaluates the extent
laid out in five col-                                                                                                                                                           on tourism already. New or further development of the
                                                                                   to which the community is defined by the presence of tourists.
umns. The core of the                                                                                                                                                           sector would not work well.
                                     High
                                                   Q4                  Q1          Measurement is the average value on any given day during the peak
analysis is contained in                        Saturation         Appropriate                                                                                           #      Q4: Saturation - Attraction is limited by willingness to
                                                                                   season of the ratio of visitors to local residents. A ratio of less than 1:1



                                 Indicators
the three centre col-                                                                                                                                                           travel, there are significant numbers of tourists already,
                                                                                   (low) indicates visitors are part of, but not the defining element of a

                                 Internal
umns under the head-                                                                                                                                                            and they may or may not benefit the community. They
                                                                                   place. At or above a ratio of 1:1 (high), the community has likely
ings of SUPPLY, DE-                                Q3                  Q2                                                                                                       may also be the cause of local environmental deteriora-
                                     Low
                                              Inappropriate         Potential
                                                                                   achieved or surpassed its local market threshold.
MAND, and CONSE-                                                                                                                                                                tion. All these are areas beyond direct community
QUENCE. Each of                                                                                                                                                                 control.
                                                                                          External Key Indicator: Global Trend - measures overall
these columns contains                             Low                 High
                                                                                   demand for the primary type of tourism a community offers, e.g. eco-
a grid of four cells, a                              External Indicators                                                                                                 Communities generally are in the best position if they occupy
                                                                                   tourism, cultural, adventure, urban, etc. If a community is linked to a
community character-                                                                                                                                              quadrants Q1 or Q2. If they are a Q2 community and they enhance
                                                                                   particular destination attraction that is growing or fading in popularity,
ization label for that          Figure 1. Grid Values Representation                                                                                              services and/or marketing to increase tourist numbers, they must also
                                                                                   then that should be taken as the critical measurement. Global trend can
dimension, and a justi-                                                                                                                                           insure that strategies exist to capture increased benefits and preserve
                                                                                   be stable or declining (low), or growing (high).
fication of the values                                                                                                                                            the environment. Stimulating tourist activity simply for the sake of
reported in the grid                                                                                                                                              increasing visitor numbers does not make sense.
                                                                                          Community Type Categories - Demand:
and the community characterization. The first column of the report
                                                                                          #   Special Interest / Education, e.g historical re-enact-
presents some general background on the community and the last                                                                                                            Occupying Q3 and Q4 positions implies fundamental obstacles
                                                                                              ments, archaeological sites
column contains action recommendations.                                                                                                                           to tourism development and the community likely would be better off
                                                                                          #   Health / Self-Improvement, e.g. spas, health resorts
                                                                                          #   Physical Adventure, e.g. skiing, mountain climbing                  exploring other avenues of economic development.
      The grid for each dimension (Figure 1) represents in graphic
                                                                                          #   Social / Recreation, e.g. resorts, camping
form a strategic evaluation of the community with respect to a small
                                                                                          #   Convenience, e.g. the place close by
number of key indicators. Aggregated, these indicators offer a                                                                                                                        www.community-tourism.net
                                                                                          #   Necessity, e.g. the place where friends and relative live
comprehensive “quick take” on the community situation.

       Internal indicators, the ones that the community has control                CONSEQUENCE
over, are measured along the vertical axis - weaknesses (lower                             Internal Key Indicator: Benefits - the gauge of socioeconomic
quadrants) give rise to increasing community strengths (upper                      and environmental impact. Benefits are low if the annual economic
quadrants). External indicators, those that are beyond the community’s             return from tourism activity is less than $200 (US) per resident and the
sphere of influence, are measured along the horizontal axis - external             there are no measurable environmental or cultural outcomes. Benefits
threats and constraints (left quadrants) morph into opportunity (right             are high if the annual per capita economic impact exceeds $200 and
quadrants). If an indicator falls on the midpoint, it is considered to have        there are some positive outcomes for the physical and cultural
a low value.                                                                       environments of the community.

     Each indicator requires a measurement which places the                                External Key Indicator: Resilience - investigates environmen-
community in either the lower or higher quadrant for that dimension                tal sensitivity and community dependence. The community resilience
                                                                                   scores low if sensitive environments are at risk and the local economy
                                                                                   is more than 50% dependent on tourism. Resilience scores high if there
       1
                                                                                   are no environmental risks and 50% or less of the local economy is
               Palermo, MCIP, Frank et al., 2001, Tourism and Community
               Development (Volumes 1 & 2), Dalhousie University.                  dependent on tourism.
Appendix 2. Public Planning Workshop
Documentation
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Participants:

Ulrike Roessler                Stuart Lodge
Gord Palmer                    Fort Outreach Society (Employment)
Amelia Stark                   John Prince Research Forest
Debbra Hes                     Chamber of Commerce; Visitor Information Centre
Janet Turnbull                 Tezzeron Resort
Wes Whitely                    New Caledonia Motel & Fort St. James Hotel
Cyndy Slorstad                 New Caledonia Motel & Fort St. James Hotel
Liz Mitchell                   Fort Outreach Employment Services
Terry Houghton                 Khanai Family Outfitters
Ann McCormick                  College of New Caledonia
Allan Howell                   Chamber of Commerce; XS Power Gym
Anna Hughes                    EDO, District of Fort St. James
Brenda Gouglas                 Councillor, District of Fort St. James
Ron Russell                    RCMP – for Staff Sargent Zettler
Vince Prince                   Nak’azdli First Nation

Agenda:

10:30      Welcome & Introductions
11:05      Community Tourism SDC Presentation
11:30      Challenges/Issues: Small Group Discussion
12:30      Keys to Successful Tourism Development: Video
1:00       Lunch – Table topics for discussion
1:30       Action Plan Development: Small Group work
3:45       Evaluation
3:55       Closing remarks
4:00       Adjournment

Workshop Proceedings:

Welcome & Introductions

Mayor McDougall opened the workshop with a welcome to participants, and statement of
his hope for the day, which is that a tourism development plan will emerge that identifies
how the municipality can help to support the development of tourism in Fort St. James,
while keeping fiscal responsibility in mind. Tourism development is a way of
diversifying the economy of the community, and celebrating what it has to offer.



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Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 1/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Anna Hughes introduced the history of this project to date, and the consultants: Michael
Kelly, who is experienced with the development of community-based tourism plans, and
Beverly Suderman, who is an experienced facilitator. Funding for this project was
received from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Michael Kelly introduced the purpose for the day, which is to identify challenges/issues
facing Fort St. James in developing its tourism potential, and to develop action plans for
addressing those challenges/issues in the next 6-12 months. The challenge question for
the day:


                     What is the overall tourism experience(s) that the
                       District of Fort St. James wants to develop?


Bev invited participants to share their goals for the day, which were written onto
flipcharts, and used as the basis for the session evaluation at the end of the day.
Participant goals included:
    • Get ideas for tourism development
    • Identify how the District’s ideas fit with the employment/training needs of the
        Fort Outreach Society’s clients and mission
    • Networking / identifying possibilities
    • Study: eco-tourism possibilities
    • Partnering or other connections
    • Marketing & action plans for tourism
    • See what’s going on
    • How to attract visitors to Fort St. James
    • How to make sure people leave happy and come back again
    • Employment possibilities: labour market growth
    • Promoting my home of Fort St. James
    • How can college assist community: promotion, training, bringing students in
    • Promoting local assets
    • Marketing lake and community:
            o Develop lakeshore opportunities for tourists
            o Properties on ski hill
            o Properties on golf course
    • Where do we start? What should be our focus?
    • How can we change attitudes of tourists, so they see Fort St. James as a “great
        opportunity” and “not to be missed” experience?
    • Promotion and marketing of tourism
    • Forestry as a living industry: community forest tours, mill tours
    • Share insights as a newcomer to the community of Fort St. James
            o Website review
            o There is more to do in Fort St. James than is advertised
__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                     Page 2/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
   •   Tourism development plan, identifying municipal opportunities to help (with
       budget implications)

Tourism SDC Assessment Presentation

SDC stands for Supply, Demand, & Consequences. This assessment looks at the current
situation of tourism in the community of Fort St. James. Key points from Michael’s
presentation included the following:
    • The District of Fort St. James is well positioned to develop tourism. It has an
        excellent supply of attractions, both natural (Stuart Lake) and cultural (Fort St.
        James national historic site). The trend in tourism indicates a high demand for
        opportunities to learn something, which the Fort provides, and which could be
        supplemented by information about the history of the aviation industry, forestry,
        First Nations culture, and other elements.
    • Historically very little attention has been paid to tourism. Key industries, which
        continue to be the economic drivers, are forestry and retail. Both traditional
        economic drivers are suffering from uncertainty and economic downturn, driving
        the desire to diversify the economic base of the community.
    • The population of the District of Fort St. James has suffered an almost 30%
        decline, according to the 2006 Canadian Census numbers which were just
        released.
    • The District’s Official Community Plan (OCP) is due for an update in 2008.
    • Tourism in the region has been addressed in the Tourism Opportunity Study
        (2000) prepared as part of the Fort St. James LRMP process, and the Fort St.
        James Historic Site Management Plan prepared by Parks Canada. Some tourism
        policy is included in the District’s OCP, and the 2006/07 Goals & Objectives.
        There is no tourism plan for the District in place at the present time.
    • Although specific figures were not available, significant investment has been
        made in the community related to the development of tourism attractions and
        amenities. An unknown amount of money was invested by the District in the
        development of the Cottonwood Park and the Marina, as well as $120,000 in
        annual operating grants to the Chamber of Commerce, various festivals and
        billboard rentals. Parks Canada has invested $14M in the construction of the Fort
        St. James Visitor Centre, site interpretation, and annual operating expenses.
        Murray Ski Hill has invested in lift and trails development, as well as base
        operations. BC Forest Service has invested in the development of forest recreation
        sites, as well as their maintenance and annual operating expenses.
    • There is a strong community of stakeholders and supporting organizations within
        the community, including federal, provincial, and local governments, not-for-
        profit organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Dog Sled Club, Festival &
        Arts Council, and local businesses concerned about tourism.
    • There is a strong set of festivals and events to draw people into the community, as
        well as a broad array of year-round recreational activities available within the
        region.

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Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 3/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
   •   Tourism visitation numbers generated some discussion. In 2006, the NHS
       recorded 18,673 visitors. In the same period, the Visitor Information Centre
       recorded 3,699. Discussion indicated that many people visit the NHS, but do not
       visit the Info Centre. Improved NHS signage has meant that fewer people need to
       stop at the Info Centre to find their way. Figures from previous years showed a
       downward trend in visitations to the NHS, but then they bounced up in 2006. This
       could be due to a variety of factors:
            o The District’s bicentennial celebrations; and/or
            o The sinking of the ferry, and loss of the northern circle route, which
                caused people to drive off the main highway.
   •   The NHS study indicated that no more than 25% of the potential overnight-stay
       market is captured locally (which may include Vanderhoof). In another study, the
       average stay in the District is 1.7 nights, but half of the visitors do not stay at all.
       For those visitors who stay, the average stay is 3.6 nights. These studies indicate
       that the District requires a complementary research program that meets the needs
       of the District. The NHS research, while useful, does not meet all of the District’s
       needs, particularly since the NHS is open only from May-September each year,
       and therefore cannot reflect any information about fall and winter tourism
       activity. One observation is that many people may not stay because they don’t
       know that there are places where they could stay. It is hard to find information
       about accommodations through the internet at this time, although the information
       is there.
   •   From the NHS 2005 Survey of Visitors, where 499 people were interviewed, we
       can learn that 37% of visitors are international (non-USA); 11% of visitors are
       from the USA; 19% of visitors are Canadian from outside of BC; and 33% of
       visitors are from BC.

Tourism Challenges/Issues: Small Group Work

Work session participants were challenged to respond to three questions identifying
challenges or issues facing the District of Fort St. James:
   • What do you see as the important challenges facing tourism development in Fort
       St. James?
   • Are there specific issues that need to be resolved in the near future, like moving
       the tourism information centre?
   • How can the community of FSJ draw people who come to the Fort into the
       community (giving the community a chance to part tourists from their $$)?

Participants were then asked to prioritize these challenges/issues, i.e. which are the most
important? The results, indicated by the number of dots individual items received, were
as follows:




__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                        Page 4/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Important Challenges:

                  Group 1                                          Group 2
****** (6 dots)                                  Convince people in the community to share
Liability insurance for adventure tourism        the region’s assets with visitors
operators. Cost = $5,000/year. 145
operators quit when rates went up
(2003/04). In comparison, operators pay
$700/year in Dawson City. They have a
policy regarding adventure tourism. Clients
sign a waiver of liability, and accept
responsibility. This is an issue for Tourism
BC. The Chamber could lobby on this
issue.
End of the road. Discussions underway to         Encourage small business operators that
build a paved road through to McKenzie.          there can be economically viable business
Rental motor homes cannot go off                 based on tourism
payment. Because of this, FSJ has to do
more marketing to attract people.
*** (3 dots)                                     Making B2B connections in community
Marketing/Promotion – What is the hook?
Fact: Requires approx 25% of business
revenues to do adequate marketing.
*** (3 dots)                                     ** (2 dots)
Town Beautification Strategy would be            Perceived safety issues in community
helpful:
    o Remove eyesores, like missing
        windows
    o Fresh paint would improve curb
        appeal
Downtown Revitalization program used to
fund some of these types of activities.
Should take lessons from Gimli, MB, in
terms of how they did their lakefront
development, or Old Town Hazelton
Working together to get better impact            *** (3 dots)
                                                 Town visual aesthetics/appeal/urban design
*** (3 dots) – for improved signage              Challenge: Develop cross-cultural
Develop a self-guided tour through town,         experience
including signage, vignettes

__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                      Page 5/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
                   Group 1                                        Group 2
Work with natural assets for snowmobiles.        Drive the 60 km from Hwy 16
This is the best area for “flatland”
snowmobiling.
Access to lake – develop it                      Promote other businesses at the NHS
                                                 attraction
Develop community buy-in. Perhaps we        ** (2 dots)
have a view that “We like it the way it is” Government regulations:
and have not been able to mobilize behind
                                                • Environment
plans and ideas that have been developed to
date.                                           • Insurance costs
                                                • Signs
                                                 Cost of advertising
                                                 Contamination of environment (from
                                                 industry)
                                                 Longer season


Specific Issues:

                   Group 1                                        Group 2
** (2 dots)                                      Lack of eating establishments
Lakeshore walkway
Beautification
Orient restaurants to lake
Shoreline needs stabilization. It has to be      Ski hill utilization
stable before building the walkway
** (2 dots)                                      Training & education
Visitor Information Centre is the first thing
to see when coming into town. Doesn’t
communicate well.
Visitor Information Centre is not very safe      Taxi; local transportation
for staff, needs more staff, and needs to be
open longer hours
** (2 dots)                                      Advertising & new map
Have an outsider review the webpage and
links to ensure that the pictures
communicate a lively community, and so
the website is easy to navigate, like the
Whistler site.
__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                       Page 6/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
                  Group 1                                          Group 2
Identify the visual highlights of this place,
season by season, i.e. Smithers has done
this.
Make places to gather into the city plan –       **** (4 dots)
this is part of the culture of the place –       Signage:
provide seating areas, with flowers and
                                                    • Traffic direction
trees.
                                                    • Way finding
                                                    • Local information
                                                 Visitor Information Centre – funding for
                                                 improved service delivery
                                                 ** (2 dots)
                                                 Relocate Visitor Information Centre
                                                 * (1 dot)
                                                 Local history interpretation (interpretation /
                                                 museum centre)

Drawing Tourists In:

                 Group 1                                          Group 2
Visitor shopping, golfing, sight-seeing          (Re)Establish local businesses
* (1 dot)                                        ******* (7 dots)
Community signage: advertising events,           Selling community before arrivals;
promoting the community                          advertising
Sidewalks: enabling RV’ers to get to the    Develop 4 season attractions
grocery store without having to walk on the
road
People are keen about history:
   o Tours
   o Self-guiding tours of unique
       architecture of other features
   o Pictographs, caves
Shopping: Tourism shopping district – may
not be feasible, given the relatively low
numbers of tourists.




__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                        Page 7/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
                  Group 1                                       Group 2
There are local crafts and a Farmers Market
throughout the summer on Friday
afternoons. People are out of town on the
weekends, shopping in Prince George or on
the lake.

Terry Houghton reported back for Group 1, emphasizing that the top challenge for the
region is the issue of unaffordable liability insurance for adventure tourism operations.
This prevents tourist access to many of the assets of the region, because operators cannot
afford the insurance, and so there is a severely limited activity pool from which tourists
can choose. For example, there are no opportunities for tourists to rent boats to enjoy
Stuart Lake, because there are no operators who can afford the liability insurance to be
able to operate such a service. The District has many assets, but the development of
businesses based on those assets is severely constrained.

Vince Prince reported back for Group 2, emphasizing that the top challenge for the region
is marketing and preselling the community to travellers, making them aware that there are
other things in Fort St. James beyond visiting the NHS.

Keys to Successful Tourism Development: Lessons from Niagara Video
Presentation

The tourism in the Niagara region has Niagara Falls as the fabulous natural attraction and
keystone asset upon which tourism there is based. But the region has expanded the scope
of its appeal. While the District of Fort St. James is unlikely to ever face the kind of
tourism pressures that Niagara has had to cope with, the lessons learned there apply here
as well. These lessons emphasize the vital importance of:

1. A unique sense of place at the tourist destination, marked by a gateway. This sense of
   place forms the unique selling proposition of the destination.
2. Good product/market match is essential, including attractions, events, and services for
   tourists.
3. There must be a critical mass of attractions, events, and services to draw tourists, and
   they must be well clustered.
4. Effective transportation linkages, including clear signage and ease of traffic
   circulation, are vital.
5. Cooperation within a region, based on a sense of common purpose, is essential to
   successfully develop attractions, events, and services. Partnerships, based on the
   recognition of different approaches to the same problem, can make efforts more
   productive.
6. Protection of the environment, the foundation of the tourist experience.

Key elements of a successful tourism program include: research, planning, and
marketing.
__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 8/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Lunch Break – Table Topics

Participants were encouraged to apply the lessons of the Niagara region to their
community over lunch. Several discussion questions were posed:

       Does the District of Fort St. James have an easily definable sense of place? What
       is it?
       Does the District of Fort St. James have a gateway? What is it? If not, what are
       some ideas for developing a possible gateway?
       Is there a good product-market match in Fort St. James?
       Is there good clustering of tourism products and services in Fort St. James?
       What organizations are involved with tourism planning, development, and
       marketing in Fort St. James? In the region? What are their respective roles? In
       what ways do they cooperate together? How might they better cooperate?
       Is tourism in Fort St. James doing a good job of protecting the environment?

These discussions were informal, and not captured for the workshop record of
proceedings.

Tourism Action Plan Development

Assets upon which a Tourism Development Strategy can be built
   • Stuart Lake
   • Annual events: Fishing Derby, Dog Sled Race, Music Festival, Thunder on Ice
   • History of the community – since 1806 – oldest continuously occupied
       community in BC – formerly capital of the Hudson’s Bay Company territory of
       New Caledonia
          o Omineca Gold Fields – still placer gold in the river
          o Fur Trade
          o Artifacts include the Fort, pictographs, Simon Fraser’s signature
   • Winter: permits lake activity, skiing (x-country & downhill), snowmobiling;
       longer season, no mosquitoes
   • Mountains (Mt. Pope & Mt. Shass): trails, skiing, visual appeal
   • Neighbours with Nak’azdli First Nation
          o Opportunities for partnership/cooperation
          o Appeals to European tourists
   • Hunting/Fishing
   • Camping opportunities
   • Nations Lakes – Gateway to canoe route
   • Forestry industry, including the FSJ Community Forest
          o BC Ministry of Forests Centennial coming in 4-5 years



__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 9/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Gaps in the asset base
   • Fine dining
   • Tourism service industry – liability insurance-related issues
           o Boat rentals not available
                   • No parasailing, pedal boats, etc.
           o Need to change policy, generate tourist volume, or both to address this
               barrier to tourism development
   • No public transportation (taxi or buses)
           o People who fly in have to be picked up
           o License issue with individual currently operating an illegal taxi
   • Sign on Hwy 16 great! – Could more be placed to catch people out for a drive?
           o Sign cost $42,000
           o Need signage to advertise community, the Fort, and events
   • Access to the lake – many areas of the shoreline are mud flats
           o Could be opened up to the view
           o Walking trail in development
           o Need boats so people can get on the water – not just look at it
   • Town beautification

A District of Fort St. James Tourism Development Strategy
Based on all the analysis completed by the participants over the course of the day,
including identification of challenges and issues, assets, gaps, the group proceeded to
develop an achievable action plan for the coming year. The process required that each
participant put forward an idea in a round, and then through discussion these ideas were
grouped together. This was followed by another round of ideas, and then further
grouping, and so on until all ideas were on the table. Then the participants reviewed the
various groupings, and the themes that emerged from them, and developed a list of
priority actions to undertake or start in the period starting now, and ending March 2008.
For a full list of the ideas, see the attachment to this report.

Fort St. James Tourism Development Strategy
Year 1: 2007-08

Promotion/Marketing:
   • Signage – developing a plan for enhanced signage promoting tourism to Fort St.
      James, and raising funds to implement the plan
   • Website – reviewing the community’s website to ensure that it reflects the active
      vibrant community of Fort St. James
   • Brochures
   • TV/Radio – work with the local society currently developing local TV and radio

Cooperation/Partnerships:
   • Identify stakeholders
   • Form Tourism Coordination Committee – District-led, and Chamber of
      Commerce supported
__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 10/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Liability Insurance:
   • Lobby effort to be undertake immediately
   • Link Chamber and Stakeholders
   • Link with adventure tourism operators and the Council of Tourism Associations
        (COTA)

Downtown beautification:
  • Enforcement of appropriate public behaviours in the streets of Fort St. James
  • Investigate the potential for Katimivik to establish a group of volunteers in the
      community to assist with public projects
  • Publicize availability of Nechako Valley grant program for gardens, planter
      boxes, etc. at private homes, and investigate as to how this could be coordinated
      with similar efforts for local businesses

Research:
   • Develop tourism market research strategy in conjunction with an educational
       institution

Routing tourists from Historic Site to downtown:
   • Establish Community Ambassadors at the Historic Site to promote the community
       of Fort St. James

Fort St. James Tourism Development Strategy
Year 2: 2008-09 and onwards

Establish Gateway to Fort St. James
   • New Visitor Information Centre
   • Enhanced signage
   • Clear gateway message

Workshop Evaluation

The workshop participants reviewed the goals for the day, identified in the morning, and
determined which had been accomplished, and which had not. The results are below:

   Achieved?                                 Participant Goals
   =Yes; =No
                      Get ideas for tourism development
                      Identify how the District’s ideas fit with the employment/
                      training needs of the Fort Outreach Society’s clients and mission
                      Networking / identifying possibilities

__________________________________________
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                    Page 11/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
                      Study: eco-tourism possibilities
                      Partnering or other connections
                      Marketing & action plans for tourism
                      See what’s going on
                      How to attract visitors to Fort St. James
                      How to make sure people leave happy and come back again
                      Employment possibilities: labour market growth
                      Promoting my home of Fort St. James
                      How can college assist community: promotion, training,
                      bringing students in
                      Promoting local assets
                      Marketing lake and community:
                                • Develop lakeshore opportunities for tourists
                                • Properties on ski hill
                                • Properties on golf course
                      Where do we start? What should be our focus?
                      How can we change attitudes of tourists, so they see Fort St.
                      James as a “great opportunity” and “not to be missed”
                      experience?
                      Promotion and marketing of tourism
                      Forestry as a living industry: community forest tours, mill tours
                      Share insights as a newcomer to the community of Fort St.
                      James
                                 • Website review
                                 • There is more to do in Fort St. James than is
                                     advertised
                      Tourism development plan, identifying municipal opportunities
                      to help (with budget implications)




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Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                     Page 12/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
Attachment: Complete List of Thematic Groupings & Idea
for Tourism Action Plan

Linkage between Historic Site and the Community
   • Advertise historic park at Cottonwood park
   • Link the business district to Historic Site with walkway
   • One way traffic to and from Historic Site

Downtown beautification
  • Public outhouse
  • Drinking on street has to stop for tourists to come back!
  • Downtown revitalization, including trees, benches, trash cans & spittoons
  • Recreate historic theme downtown: murals, false fronts

Cooperation/Partnerships for Marketing/Promotion
   • Forming stronger partnerships to reach a common goal
   • Create opportunities to cooperate and share ideas
   • Community working together to promote ourselves
   • List all the attractions/events Fort St. James has to offer AND get/find a good
      quality photo of each activity/feature for website
   • Radio advertising
   • TV/Radio Society involvement

Walking Tours
  • Create tours, e.g. Historic Park, Nation Lakes
  • Offer tours starting from historic park
  • History/Walk through time
  • Negotiate forestry/industry tours with Ministry of Forests

Liability Insurance
   • Address the issue of high liability insurance cost
   • Chamber of Commerce lobby government re liability insurance

Signage
   • Signage on Hwy 16 – price out cost of putting two more identical signs to draw
      people to FSJ – If affordable, do it!

Gateway/Sense of Place
   • Gateway: Mackenzie Rupert Highway
   • Build a sense of place:
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Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                   Page 13/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007
          o Develop gateway to lakes
          o Small shops
          o Most beautiful sunsets
   •   Build on the industry of this time – show how we make our living

Research
   • Learn more about our tourists

Linkages
   • Map of snowmachine trails

Public Transportation
   • Have public/bus transportation or shuttle service
   • Tourist transportation/shuttle service

Waterfront Access
  • Environment: shoreline stable; fish protection from silt
  • Access: View from centre of town overlooking lake

Regional Hiking Trail Development
   • Develop trails




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Fort St. James Tourism Development Plan                                   Page 14/14
Report on the Work Session held March 20, 2007

								
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