A project to develop a central attraction hub in the Village of Gold River’s business retail area is taking shape.

It’s being supported by Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) Quick Start funding program.

The project includes the building of a locally designed wooden kiosk (with panels highlighting Gold River’s visitor attractions), public seating and gathering areas, a community map, and dedicated interpretative panels for the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nations. 

The space will be built in an area that is currently a long strip of untended land with small trees and bushes.

“Strong and vibrant downtown cores are essential to the economic and social health of a community,” says ICET Board Chair Josie Osborne. 

“This Quick Start project is helping Gold River expand its economy and establish itself as an adventure and nature-based tourism hub.”

The project comes on the heels of the Village’s 2018 Economic Development Strategy that prioritized the need to improve the downtown’s physical attractiveness to promote tourism as well as community well-being and pride of place. 

The project was initiated by the Tourism Working Group under the auspices of the Gold River Economic Development Committee, which consists of seven community members including the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nations and the Gold River Chamber of Commerce.

“In small communities across Canada, the retail environment is changing,” says Rachel Stratton, Village of Gold River Councillor and Chair of the Economic Development Committee. 

“Each community must recognize this, and both the retail business owners and the community are looking for new and innovative ways to adapt.”

Gold River Chamber of Commerce president Veanna Johnston said that “with the dedication and involvement of so many local people, this project can only have a positive outcome on the morale of the community.”

“This will encourage further discussions, projects and a renewed sense of pride in our town,” Johnston added.

The new space will also display many large and intricate community chainsaw carvings that are completed annually during Gold River Days. 

The project is expected to begin shortly.