Birch Bay chamber receives grant from county

The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce has received a $100,000 grant from Whatcom County in order to pay for the operations of the Birch Bay Visitor Center in 2019.

Whatcom County and the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce have entered into a contract, whereby the chamber will receive $100,000 to “fund the operations of the visitor center” and to “fund the advertising and marketing for annual multi-day events designed to promote tourism and overnight stays.”

The multi-day events to be promoted include the kite festival (May 25-26), the sand sculpture competition and Rollback Weekend car show (July 20-21) and Discover Birch Bay Days during Fan Fest 2019 (August 16-18).

The chamber has received similar grants in past years, specifically $100,000 for 2018 and $86,500 for 2017.

However, funding is not guaranteed each year. “My understanding is it’s not a given, and the application for the grant has to be submitted, evaluated and approved each year based on merit,” said Douglas Bennion, executive director of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Still, Bennion described the funding as essential to the operations of the chamber. “We probably wouldn’t be here, in our current form, without it,” said Bennion, adding that “it is a major source of our funding, along with a parks department grant, as well as our membership fees and individual contributions.”

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