By Jan Penner
A meeting at Quaaout Lodge on October 8th had representatives from the Chase Chamber of Commerce, the North Shuswap Chamber of Commerce, the Sorrento Community Association and the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce.
The Chase Chamber of Commerce is developing a website to spread the word about what a wonderful place Chase and District is in which to live, work and play. Because all these economic associations are so closely linked, with crossovers professionally and personally, they were invited to meet to share ideas and concerns related to the well-being and development of this economic region.
Attendees were asked to share ideas of ways to expand on the major industry for the area, tourism. As it stands, only a few summer months of visitors provide an income for many businesses in the Chase and District area. For a more viable tourist trade, opportunities need to be generated to entice more people to visit over more months of the year. As well, a more diverse economic base needs to be developed so business communities can grow and strengthen.
The beauty of the area year round is a strong selling point, but ideas for what people can do other than activities that use the lake, need to be explored and advertised. Suggestions were made around enticing snowmobilers to visit from outside areas, keeping the Shuswap Lake Provincial Park open longer, and possibly developing events in fall and spring which would see the return of guests who usually come during the summer season, and draw in visitors who have never been here before.
There are many projects which foster growth in tourism including the Shuswap Trail Alliance project, the Shuswap Mapping Project, the close proximity to ski areas, and the tremendous snowmobiling area on Crowfoot. Deterrents to development included lack of accommodation and year round food venues in the North Shuswap.
It was decided that an avenue worth following may be to set up a task force which would have representatives from area organizations, to share thoughts, ideas and expertise. In order to ensure that the work load is not centered on just a few people, it was proposed that members of such a committee would change, depending on what kind of work and information was needed at the time, what projects or developments are being considered.