OUTSTANDING BUSINESS  The Lakeshore Resort and Campground was given top honours at the 2015 BC Aboriginal Business Awards. Photo submitted

OUTSTANDING BUSINESS The Lakeshore Resort and Campground was given top honours at the 2015 BC Aboriginal Business Awards. Photo submitted

By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

Lakeshore Resort and Campground recently received the Outstanding Achievement Award in the category of Community-Owned Business for the 2015 BC Aboriginal Business Awards.

The campground, which is located just a few kilometres north of Fairmont Hot Springs on Lake Windermere and is owned by the Akisqnuk First Nation, has been working toward integrating with the Columbia Valley business community.

This is an amazing award, said Kaylene Earl, Lakeshore and Campground manager. I feel quite honoured, knowing that I could not have received it without the whole team working toward it.

After applying for the award three years ago and not placing, Ms. Earl was over the moon about this years results.

There have been many new developments including the construction of the Legacy Hall, which has already been the setting for six weddings, a 100th birthday celebration, a retirement party and a celebration of life. The 1,800-square foot, open air, roofed gathering place was built by Akisqnuk First Nation students in 2012 with support from the College of the Rockies, the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Home Renovation Centre.

In addition, there has been a large fire pit installed beside the Legacy Hall and management has plans to once again host Elder-led Ktunaxa Legend Nights there.

We had them last year, but in the native culture, if theres a death in the immediate family, the cultural activities are put on hold, out of respect for the person who has passed, for a year, said Ms. Earl, noting this year was not possible due to a recent bereavement. But we hope to have them back again this season.

The Ktunaxa Legend Nights are open to the public at no cost.

Usually the drummers and dancers are around if anybody wants to ask questions, she said.

The Lakeshore Resort and Campground has 61 full-service sites (which includes 56 seasonally-leased), 66 non-serviced sites, six sites with electricity and five tipis for overnight stays.

The Lakeshore Resort and Campground was placed back under the Akisqnuk First Nation management after several years of being operated by the Nations now-disbanded development corporation.

I think its important that its community-owned, explained Ms. Earl. Not only that, but the fact that we employ band members and make a profit without a partner its not an easy task to be a community owned business.

During the 2014 camping season, the Lakeshore Resort and Campground sold out six times compared to only once in 2012. Ms. Earl already has a waiting list for leased sites in the upcoming 2016 season and believes the business online presence has had a positive impact.

This season, the numbers have been way up, said Ms. Earl. Its great to see people returning and weve also implemented a First Nations discount, which has increased our guests.

For more information, visit www.lakeshoreresortcampground.com and Lakeshore Resort and Campground page on Facebook.