Ed Coleman, the CEO of the historic town, says they were headed for a record year for visitors before the fires hit…
“We were trending for 72,000 which would have been up seven thousand over last year but with the wildfire disaster we landed at 49,000 people. Considering all the road closures, the amount of smoke, all these interface fires, it’s actually quite remarkable we got 49 thousand.”
Coleman says the biggest drops were, not surprisingly because of the road closures, from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Ironically, the number of Quesnel visitors were actually up over last year.
Coleman says overall it’s a pretty big hit…
“It’s about a million dollar hit, so for our merchants it’s about a half million dollar hit, for our us it’s about half a million plus many of our projects were impacted with supply chain interruptions, that’s probably another 300 thousand dollar hit, so you just go straight into risk management and do what you can.
Coleman says revenue from campgrounds was also down as they were expecting about 180 thousand dollars worth of sales and that dropped down to about 95 thousand.
He says they have applied for some relief to the Province.
Coleman says they learned from this year however and now know what they have to do…
“The biggest issue is communities need their interfaces dealt with. So we’re going to have to deal with our interface, I think we learned this summer, so there is about 700 acres that need to be treated around the town site with the park. The office of the fire commissioner met with, we have the most up to date wildfire community interface assessment in the province right now.”
Coleman says he is confident that 2018, marking the 60th anniversary of Barkerville becoming a provincial heritage property, will be a lot better.
Before then though he reminds the public that their tube run will be open again this year once we get some snow.
He says they will open up their cafe and gift store on November 1st.