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Business notes: Malahat Skywalk wins prestigious tourism award

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community
Malahat SkyWalk took home a 2022 BC Tourism & Hospitality Award in the Innovation category at an awards gala on March 10 hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of BC and British Columbia Hotels Association. Pictured is the Malahat SkyWalk team, with general manager Ken Bailey third from left, accepting the award. (Submitted photo)

Malahat SkyWalk was recognized on March 10 with a 2022 BC Tourism & Hospitality Award in the category of Innovation.

The BCTHA, hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of BC and British Columbia Hotels Association, recognize and celebrate excellence, leadership, and innovation within British Columbia’s tourism and hospitality industry, showcasing the province’s most exceptional leaders and positive change-makers.

Malahat SkyWalk has welcomed more than 150,000 visitors since opening July 15, 2021, exceeding all goals and estimations.

The approximately $15-million project, a partnership between the Malahat Nation and A.Spire by Nature, a company led by two of the founding partners in the successful Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish, combines nature-based tourism with a cultural tourism experience.

A 600 metre-long elevated walkway transports visitors to a 10-storey, architecturally-inspiring spiral tower lookout 250 metres above sea level, providing breathtaking 360-degree views.

An adventure net and 20-metre spiral slide offer further innovation for the enjoyment of daring guests.

“Malahat SkyWalk has quickly become a marquee tourism asset for both British Columbia and Canada, and we are honoured to be recognized for our innovation,” says Ken Bailey, general manager of the Malahat SkyWalk.

“Not only does Malahat SkyWalk’s physical structure and experience demonstrate innovation, but more importantly we are proud to have a strong relationship with Malahat Nation and be contributing to reconciliation through tourism with our partnership.”


Duncan’s Dairy Queen will host an “Anya’s Sundae Day” on March 22 to help fundraise for the Anya’s Journey Foundation.

Anya Findlay, 13, was diagnosed in 2020 with Lamb-Shaffer Syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder.

Her father, local businessman Bruce Findlay, recently started the non-profit foundation to fund research into Lamb-Shaffer Syndrome and to pay for a new $500,000 all-ages inclusive playground that is planned in Fuller Lake Park.

The Municipality of North Cowichan gave the society the green light last month to proceed with its plans for the new playground, which will be geared towards both children and adults with special needs, and the fundraising for it began in earnest.

Anya’s ultimate treat is a hot-fudge sundae from Dairy Queen and when Erika and Travis Berthiaume, the owners of Duncan’s Dairy Queen, heard that, they didn’t hesitate to come up with Anya’s Sundae Day to help raise funds for the cause.

All proceeds from Anya’s Sundae Day will go towards the foundation’s goal to build the new playground.

“Since this is the first planned fundraiser for this organization, Duncan DQ wanted to help them knock it out of the park,” said Travis Berthiaume.


Carly Fetherstonhaugh, the IT wizard at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, will be leaving her position at the end of March.

Sonja Nagel, the chamber’s executive director, said Fetherstonhaugh, who joined the chamber’s team last year, has accepted a new position with a Victoria-based tech company.

“It’s sad for us but we’re happy for Carly who has been such a great addition to the chamber, enhancing our digital presence and engagement with our members,” Nagel said.

“We are going to miss her and her puppy Sam.”

Nagel said the chamber is now looking for another “superstar” to join its team as communications and member relations manager.

“Do you know a savvy communications person who might be a good fit for the chamber?” she asked.

“We’d love to hear from them before March 21.”

Contact for more information.


Island Savings has officially opened its new location in Lake Cowichan at 75 Cowichan Lake Rd.

To celebrate, Island Savings is donating $7,200 to the Lake Cowichan Food Bank Society to symbolize 72 years of serving the community.

“As a member-owned financial cooperative, we know how important it is to be a part of the social and economic fabric of the community and we’re thankful to our membership for enabling us to support the community in meaningful ways over the past 70 years,” says James Funfer, manager at Island Savings’ Lake Cowichan branch.

“We’re excited to reaffirm our commitment to Lake Cowichan with our new location, which offers increased convenience and accessibility while maintaining the customized, trusted advice members expect.”

Island Savings’ former location at 38 King George St. was originally home to Lake Cowichan Credit Union that opened in 1950.

In 2005, Lake Cowichan Credit Union merged with Island Savings.


The City of Duncan’s annual financial report for the year ending Dec. 31, 2020, was awarded the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the 10th consecutive year.

The report won the distinction by going beyond the requirements for generally accepted accounting principles, and demonstrates an effort to clearly communicate the city’s financial picture, enhance the understanding of financial reporting and address user needs in the annual report.

The Canadian Award for Financial Reporting Program was established to encourage municipal governments throughout Canada to publish high-quality financial reports and to provide peer recognition and technical guidance for officials preparing these reports.

“We would like to recognize the incredible dedication and high standards of the whole finance team for their continued success,” said Mayor Michelle Staples.

“Congratulations. We are thankful and proud of each of you for the work you do producing award-winning reports for the city year after year.”

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Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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