Renfrew County tourism operators benefit from federal relief fund

Lakepoint Cottage Resorts
Lakepoint Cottage Resort is one of three Renfrew County tourism organizations to receive funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Photo courtesy Lakepoint Cottage Resort

Three tourism organizations in Renfrew County will receive federal funding to help them recover from the pandemic and continue to grow.

The funding, announced earlier this week, is part of the federal $500-million Tourism Relief Fund and will be administered through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Friends of Bonnechere Parks, a not-for-profit that supports tourism to Bonnechere and Bonnechere River Parks, received $340,000 to create and enhance tourism experiences, including a barrier-free one-kilometre trail, improved accessibility features at the cultural centre and an online portal with accessible and multilingual content.

“Our new FIT Trails will greatly enhance our ability to serve clients and the local community through enriched, immersive experiences that connect us to the land through the oral histories of traditional Algonquin teachings,” said Anne Burchat, president of the Friends of Bonnechere Parks, in a news release.

Lakepoint Cottage Resort, a family-owned resort located on a peninsula of Golden Lake, received $100,000 that will enable it to expand its facilities to support year-round tourism by winterizing existing cottages and constructing five winterized bunkhouses and a shared washroom facility.

'Critical revenue'

“The ability to expand our season will provide critical revenue to offset the negative effect the global pandemic has had on our property,” noted Chad Wilton, president of Lakepoint Cottage Resort.

Snow Country Snowmobile Region, a not-for-profit organization that promotes safe and environmentally responsible snowmobile tourism, received $46,000 to create enhanced maps and signage for snowmobile trails located in Eastern Ontario.

“With this support, we hope to improve the trail experience for riders and at the same time support our local business partners,” said Terry Vaudry, administrator of the Snow Country Snowmobile Region.

In 2019, tourism in southern Ontario accounted for $27.7 billion of the region’s gross domestic product and supported more than 200,000 jobs.

“We are supporting tourism-oriented businesses and organizations because the tourism sector supports economic growth and jobs in the regions,” said Helena Jaczek, minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.