BC Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart has announced that $2 million from the Liberals’ Rebuild B.C. plan has been earmarked for the development of the McAbee Fossil Beds as a tourist destination.
The McAbee Beds are located east of Cache Creek on the Trans-Canada Highway, and are internationally recognized as the most diverse site known in British Columbia for plants and insects of the Eocene Epoch from 50 million years ago.
In 2012 the beds were declared a heritage site by the provincial government and closed to the public. In 2017 a working group of volunteers secured funding to develop a business plan for the site, which set out a phased approach to develop a world-class interpretive and research centre at the globally significant site, which could attract up to 50,000 visitors each year.
The McAbee Beds were recognized with a “Stop of Interest” sign and reopened to the public in the summer of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic halted plans to open the site again in summer 2020, but work on a trail system for visitors began in September, with the hope of welcoming visitors again in 2021.
The BC Liberals recently announced an $8 billion Rebuild B.C. plan, which includes increased funding to accelerate infrastructure projects to meet the needs of the province’s growing population, create jobs, and improve long-term productivity. The McAbee site has been recognized for the enormous potential it has as a centre for education, research, and tourism, and the Liberals say that investment in it would put people to work immediately as the site is developed, and for years to come as the centre becomes operational.
“This site is of interest to researchers, students, and visitors,” says Tegart. “Investing in developing McAbee as a tourist destination will create jobs and allow more British Columbians to safely visit and spend time in our community.”