Another step in the transformation of Lillooet happened Saturday, Nov. 5 when the Gateway Revitalization project was celebrated at the pullout at the western end of the Bridge of the 23 Camels.
The area now includes new landscaping with native plants, signage about BC Hydro’s Bridge River System, a large paved pullout and log benches. Overlooking the site is the “Wild Onion” sculpture created by the Lillooet Lions Club from a piece of equipment donated by the late Brian Grossler.
Mayor Marg Lampman welcomed a determined group of about 20 people who braved the light rain to hear remarks from the mayor and other dignitaries, witness the official cake-cutting and enjoy baked goods provided by Abundance Artisan Bakery.
In her comments, Mayor Lampman thanked the workers at Split Rock Nursery who landscaped the site, Split Rock manager Kim North, Brad Bushill and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Lori Smith and Judy Bodaly from the Downtown Beautification Committee, Jacquie Rasmussen from the Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Committee, Bob Sheridan from the Lillooet Chamber of Commerce, Terri Hadwin from the Gold Country Communities Society, the District of Lillooet’s public works crew and grant-writing consultant Marg Hohner, who obtained the funding for the project.
Mayor Lampman also acknowledged funding support from CN, BC Hydro, SLRD Areas A and B, the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Southern Interior Beetle Coalition.
She paid tribute to the “many, many, many volunteers” who contributed to the project, including members of the Ad-Hoc Tourism Advisory Committee who “came up with so many great ideas to help encourage more tourism opportunities in Lillooet. Projects like this give our residents a sense of identity and a sense of pride in the community.”
Also speaking at the ceremony were Yvette May from Clinton, representing Communities in Bloom and Trees Canada; a representative from the CN Pensioners Association, which chose Lillooet’s Gateway project from applications from 35 communities across Canada; and Kevin Brown, the CN trainmaster responsible for the Lillooet area.
Brown said Lillooet was one of 31 communities across the country to received grant funding from CN as part of its EcoConnexions From the Ground Up program. The program focuses on environmental sustainability by renewing green spaces or developing new green space projects.
Yvette May commented that Lillooet’s “sense of pride in the community is one of the biggest things I’ve noticed here,” while the Pensioners Association representative noted that Lillooet must have been selected because “either there was a really good presentation by your mayor or CN has a weakness for Lillooet.”
Mayor Lampman predicted, “Next spring, we will really see a big difference here as everything spruces up.”