The Village of Gold River is a small community of 1,2000 people situated along the banks of the Gold and Heber Rivers. Established in 1965, the Village was one of BC’s first “instant towns” built around a pulp mill. By the early 1990s, economic shifts in the pulp and paper industry resulted in the mill closure of 1998 leading to significant job loss, population decrease (especially among younger people) and business decline. Since that time, the area has been working to diversify its economy and establish itself as a tourism hub for adventure or nature-based tourism, as well as cultural and historical tourism.
A 2018 Economic Development Strategy prioritized the need to improve the downtown’s physical attractiveness to promote tourism, community well-being and pride of place. This was followed by the development of a comprehensive tourism strategy that set out a road map with targeted goals and an action plan that included development of tourism capacity and built environment to foster increased tourism.
This project is led by the Tourism Working Group, under the auspices of the Gold River Economic Development Committee. It seeks to improve the Village’s tourism capacity by developing a small central attraction hub. Works include the development of a wooden kiosk featuring local visitor attractions, a community map and dedicated panels for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations historic and cultural information and a seating area. Large and intricate chainsaw carvings, created annually during Gold River Day celebrations, will be featured at the site. Each year more sculptures and carvings will be added. The site will also integrate newly created community branding.