Historic Hat Creek has received confirmation of funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) and the provincial government that will allow a major campground expansion at the site. Historic Hat Creek will also provide some funding for the project.
The funds will allow for the construction of between 25 and 30 fully-serviced RV spots with power, water, and sewer hook-ups, as well as the construction of a laundry facility and a shower and bathroom.
“There are eight to 10 [unserviced] campsites at the site right now, and they’re always booked,” says Robert Sharkey, chair of the board of the Friends of Historic Hat Creek. “People are always asking for more, so we knew the demand was there.”
Sharkey says that the provincial government made an announcement several months ago that it wanted to see more camping sites built in the province. “We fell into it at the right time, and wrote to NDIT and the provincial government for funding.
“It was tougher this time at NDIT [compared with asking for funds for the new gift shop], and it was a longer process because there was more competition. But we built up a good working relationship with NDIT over the building of the gift shop, and were told that a key was getting the application in sooner rather than later.”
Sharkey says that he and Historic Hat Creek manager Don Pearse worked with NDIT “to make a good proposal great. We got in early for the funding, and had strong letters of support from [former MLA] Jackie Tegart, the board of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), Gold Country Communities Society, and the Heritage Branch [of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, which owns Historic Hat Creek]. All of that put together got us through the process at NDIT.
“The [Friends of Historic Hat Creek] board has been great, and the TNRD has been very helpful in the process. They’re more problem solvers than problem creators.”
The new campsites will be located on the former site of the arbour at the northeast corner of the property adjacent to Highway 99. The arbour, which was rotting and collapsing, had been built by the Bonaparte Indian Band, and Sharkey says that Bonaparte chief Ryan Day and councillor Frank Antoine—the latter of whom is on the board of the Friends of Historic Hat Creek—fully supported removing it.
Sharkey says that the design process is expected to start in June, and is hopeful that work on landscaping, roads, and layout can start in September/October 2017, with some services possibly going in as well. “Our target is to have it up and running by May 1, 2018.”