The City of Williams Lake has applied to host the 2015 B.C. Mountain Bike Tourism Symposium.
The event, which is expected to draw 150 to 200 industry professionals and mountain bikers to the city for a minimum of three days, gathers stakeholders including mountain bike advocates, trail builders, land managers, commercial operators, mountain bike media operators and government and industry representatives to discuss the benefits of mountain biking tourism on the economy.
“They [the B.C. Mountain Bike Tourism Association] bring the speakers and we get to have some input on topics so we can make it a real part of our community,” said Beth Holden, the city’s events and marketing co-ordinator. “Our responsibility will be to host a welcome reception, a Saturday night social and to guide local rides, so a lot of that would fall on the [Williams Lake Puddle Bike Club] and the [Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium].”
B.C. is already recognized as a hotbed for mountain biking throughout the world, and Holden said showcasing Williams Lake will provide additional benefits for the community moving forward.
City council voted unanimously during last week’s council meeting in favour of applying to host the event.
“With hundreds of kilometres of single track, comprehensive signage and growing supportive infrastructure, this region is quickly gaining media and rider attention resulting in an increase in mountain bike tourism each year,” she said.
In applying to host the symposium Holden asked the city to set aside up to $4,000 of its $5,000 Event Hosting Grant allocation budget. In 2014, $4,080 of the grant went untouched. A city staff member would also be appointed to head up the project.
She said the approximate direct economic impact from hosting the event is estimated to be $65,000.
Other organizations who have agreed to contribute to the event include Recreation Site and Trails BC, the Williams Lake Puddle Bike Club, the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium, Barking Spider, Red Shred’s, the Ramada, the Sandman, the Gecko Tree, Barkerville Brewery and the Williams Lake and Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I have strong support from the mountain bike club and the consortium to step in to help out, as well as other members of the community,” she said.
The official date of the symposium has not yet been specified, however, it’s expected the event will be held in the fall of 2015 between mid-September and late October.