Vernon officials hope the 2017 55-Plus B.C. Games bolster the region's economy.

Vernon officials hope the 2017 55-Plus B.C. Games bolster the region's economy.

Games bolster local economy

The 55-Plus B.C. Games, which runs from Sept. 12 to 16, 2017, could bring in up to 4,000 people

Sports and recreation could add up to big dollars for Vernon’s economy.

The City of Vernon is currently looking at ways to bolster the local economy during the 2017 Vernon 55-Plus B.C. Games, including having a booth at the Coquitlam event this September.

“We will be promoting the 2017 games in Vernon,” said Kevin Poole, economic development manager.

The multi-sport event, which runs from Sept. 12 to 16, 2017, could bring in up to 4,000 athletes, friends and family to the area with a projected economic impact of about $2.1 million.

On another front, the economic development department is already looking at ways to leverage benefits from the Okanagan Rail Trail once it’s constructed.

“It’s a new product coming into the market and that’s pretty rare,” said Poole.

The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative says that an additional 107,400 visitors will be attracted to the region annually to use the trail. This could represents $6.7 to $8.7 million to the local economy, and about 66 new jobs in related businesses.

A campaign is currently underway to raise the $7.8 million to construct the corridor from Coldstream to Kelowna.

Poole’s department is also busy spreading the word about the region with media across Canada and internationally.

“Even the Asian market is picking up Vernon,” he said.

So far this year, 80 media have been hosted and that has generated an advertising value of more than $1 million.