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Soda Creek First Nation aims for campground upgrades
Whispering Willows Campsite is not a tourist destination, but with some upgrades it has the potential to be used more, says Xatsull First Nation (Soda Creek) economic development co-ordinator Miriam Schilling.
Located 27 kilometres north of Williams Lake on Highway 97, the campsite is convenient for highway access.
With upgrades, bigger RVs and rigs would have an easier time using the site.
“If they can’t pull through, they don’t want to stay,” Schilling told the Tribune during a recent tour of the site.
RV users want fully serviced sites and right now Whispering Willows has six sites that provide water and sewer, power, washrooms, showers and firewood.
There are unserviced sites with stone hearths, and the plan is to add another six fully-serviced sites.
“We often have contractors looking for a few months’ stay,” Schilling said.
Deep Creek meanders its way below the back of the campsite, with traditional fencing, and some log buildings enhancing the atmosphere.
“It’s ideal for bigger events,” Schilling said. “We’ve rented it to Gibraltar for a few family events.”
Recently the City and the Cariboo Regional District agreed to provide letters of support for the band’s $70,000 funding application to the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) for the upgrades.
The band will also apply to the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).
Funds would help with the installation of a septic system, upgrading of the water system and electrical system, and performance of gravel work and layout.
The band has agreed to make a 10 percent financial contribution in the form of cash and is planning on making an additional 10 percent in the form of donations through machinery usage and staff time.
Xatsull Heritage Village received upgrades with NDIT’s community adjustment funding and now the focus is on the small business of the campsite, grant writer Anthony Mack said.
In the future the band hopes to apply to community gaming for a transportation program, he added.
Schilling said once the upgrades are complete, the band will go for approved accommodation status from Destination B.C.
“We also think it will be doable for winter camping,” she added.