Homalco Wildlife Tours

Homalco First Nation

Sources of Funding
ICET:$195,000
Coast Opportunity Funds:$166,000
Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy Hatchery Agreement :$56,750
Total Budget: $473,900
Quick Facts: 

Homalco Wildlife Tours benefits existing tourism operators in the region while providing guide training and employment opportunities for the Nation.

Aboriginal tourism and eco-tourism have been identified as some of the fastest growing sectors of the BC tourism economy. To create an attractive tourist destination experience in the Orford River Valley, the Homalco Nation wanted to expand on its successful upgrades to the Taggares-Homalco Salmon Hatchery. Grizzly and Black Bears visit the hatchery to feed on salmon in the spawning pools of the Orford River Estuary and provide a unique opportunity for visitors to see the bears in their natural habitat.

To develop Homalco Wildlife Tours, additional infrastructure and facility upgrades were needed to create a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. The site was properly mapped and engineered to respect the habitat. Ten large carved signs, representing Coast Salish animal depictions and language, were created to mark the roadway in addition to a large welcome sign at the dock and entrance to the compound. The riverbank was reinforced and the road rebuilt.  Two additional observation towers were built to provide wildlife viewing the early part of the season. The hatchery compound was fenced to protect both staff and salmon stocks. A double-wide trailer was transported to the site and renovated to create a safe and welcoming staging area and interpretive centre with interactive wilderness displays teaching about bears and the environment.

Infrastructure development for Homalco Wildlife Tours, completed in 2015, increased tourism, bringing sustainable employment opportunities to the community and raising the profile of North Vancouver Island as a desirable destination for world-class wilderness experiences.  Development of the world class site for Grizzly Bear Tours, has led many private sector partnerships, training partnerships with high end eco-lodges, service agreements with eco-operators and other hospitality sector businesses.  In the two years following completion of the project business has increased by 2000 visitors, which has had an important employment impact for band members in addition to all of the spin-off benefits for neighboring eco-lodges and regional eco-operators. The Homalco Band is now planning additional services to its operations in response to the increase in demand.

ICET By The Numbers

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)

ICET By The Numbers

50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together

ICET By The Numbers

$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated

ICET By The Numbers

3,650
post completion jobs created

ICET By The Numbers

$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested

ICET By The Numbers

$236
million leveraged into the region

ICET By The Numbers

$50.5
million disbursed

ICET By The Numbers

$52.1
million committed

ICET By The Numbers

212
economic development projects

ICET By The Numbers

170
projects completed

ICET By The Numbers

36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities

ICET By The Numbers

50+
communities with ICET projects

2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT

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