May 21, 2019 9:54 pm
Updated: May 22, 2019 10:23 pm

108 Mile Ranch unveils big plans to rebuild after devastating wildfire

WATCH: B.C. community battles back from forest fires

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Two years after one of the most destructive wildfires in provincial history forced its evacuation, 108 Mile Ranch in the South Cariboo region is getting a multi-million dollar facelift.

“We had the fires. It was devastating. We are recovering—and we still are recovering. But our people are very resilient,” said Al Richmond of the Cariboo Regional District.

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The community, home to roughly 2,500 people, is getting a major injection of public and private funds—to the tune of an anticipated $20 million—as it positions itself to rebuild, and re-enter the province’s tourism industry as a major player.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires: The fight to save 108 Mile Ranch

“Last year we had 5,600 aircraft movements at this airport. Fifty-five of them were medevacs,” said Nick Christianson of the Cariboo Regional District.

The region’s airport is poised to undergo a $6.3-million upgrade, with seven figures in capital projects—including 10,000 square feet of space for a $3-million clubhouse and conference facility—to the community’s primary resort, 108 Golf Resort.

WATCH: Saving the 108 Mile area from wildfires

The resort had changed ownership just days before the 5,700 hectare Gustafsen fire wreaked havoc on the region.

“Tens of thousands of acres of land were impacted, and the resort lost substantial business and cash flow. But at the same time, the owners of the resort donated rooms to emergency services staff,” said Peter Harrison of Destination BC.

A $6-million seniors’ housing complex, boasting 36 units, will be built by local developer Scotty Lang and his son, Cameron—who say they’re working to fill the void of seniors housing in the region.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires: Residents of 100 Mile House area allowed back home

“People love to retire here, but they don’t really think about what happens in 10 years. So this will allow us to remain a retirement town, and also provide greater services to those who wish to retire here,” said Cameron Lang.

The Ministry of Transportation is also committing long-awaited funding of up to $2.4 million to resurface more than 16 kilometres of roadway.

The Cariboo Regional District has also invested $3.1 million in completing work on its water treatment plant—a project that was started before the fires of 2017.

Two new pieces of fire fighting apparatus have also been purchased, at a cost of $531,160.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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