The numbers of visitors to Lake Cowichan over the summer were at an all-time high. With more possibilities for recreational and family activities for tourists to enjoy in the area, Cowichan Lake has become a gateway destination. A good number of visitors explored the Circle Route to Port Renfrew.
This year, as of Aug. 31, we have had 5,794 visitors come into our Visitor Centre seeking information on the route to Port Renfrew. Five thousand of these visitors came in during our summer months; from May until August.
Now if you are not aware of the condition of the road to Port Renfrew, then maybe you should check out what these visitors discovered.
The road has a seal coat surface on it and the access to the West Coast from our lake was greatly used over the summer and vice a versa. I had the pleasure of driving our wonderful gateway road this summer and I was able to take in some spectacular views.
Stop into the centre and get your copy of the kilometre information sheet with points of interest that will turn the drive from the lake to the West Coast into a treasure hunt.
Total visitors to the area from Jan. 1, to Aug. 31, was 18,924, and 11, 386 total parties. Last year the area saw 16,516 total visitors, and 10,334 total parties. This means we are up in the overall number of total visitors and up in the total parties which proved to us that more people were vacationing on their own instead of in groups.
The summer season (May to August) shows a slight increase with 15,855 total visitors with an increase in total parties to 9,534, compared to last year’s summer season which boasted 14,132 total visitors and 8,641 total parties. Last year the total number of visitors for all of 2011 was 22,025, and we are right now at 19,223 and we still have four months to go.
Visitors came in seeking information, looking for the gems that we have around our lake, utilizing the trails and hikes around our lake and on the Cowichan River, tubing, kayaking, and using our services at the centre.
During the hockey camp at the Cowichan Lake Recreation Centre in August, while the kids were learning and working hard on their slap shot skills, some parents took time out for themselves and made a visit to the centre to check their emails, locate the best place stay, eat, and play, attractions and events, gathered up some Tourism B.C. booklets to help plan their next family vacation, or that next relaxing weekend getaway for two.
Visitors from as far as Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Europe to as close as next door — other provinces in Canada — and from the United States came to the centre seeking information on what we have to offer.
Each visitor enjoyed our communities for the wonderful hospitality, service, and natural beautiful attractions, all things that we experience on a daily basis.
The Visitor Centre did experience difficulties securing the funding needed to hire the students we require to work at the centre over the summer months, but Canada Summer Jobs finally approved funding for one student for eight weeks.
Even though we received this funding it was still not enough to cover the other two students that we hired to make sure we had a full team. This team is required in order to properly assist visitors and allow the centre to remain open seven days week and extend the hours of operation over the summer.
We held two bottle drives and two hotdog fundraisers and were able to raise approximately $2,000 to put towards hiring a second summer student.
In order to maintain the information services in our Cowichan Lake area, the Visitor Centre relies on funds from the Chamber Businesses, Town of Lake Cowichan, Areas F & I, Ministry of Tourism, Federal Government corporate business, and volunteers.
The Visitor Centre is a vital asset to the communities and the businesses around the lake, and funding is an important component to making sure that the services offered are not decreased or discontinued. It will take a considerable show of community support to make this message clear to the governments that we cannot see a reduction in funding to these programs that provide so much to their communities. Hats off to our communities and businesses for making Cowichan Lake the vacation capital in the Cowichan Valley. This truly is a wonderful place to visit, work, play and stay for a lifetime.
Take a moment and look around you and enjoy the beauty that our area has to offer and take care of what is right outside your door.
Don’t forget to stop into the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Visitor/Business Centre where you can get all the information you need about our area.
Whether you’re using our business services, seeking local information or joining the chamber, we look forward to meeting you.