Minister Katrine Conroy was in Trail last week to announce rural dividend grant recipients. From left: Wesley Startup, LCIC board chair; Minister Conroy, MLA Kootenay West; Terry van Horn, LCIC executive director; Bill Van Beek, LCCDTS chair. Submitted photo

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy was at the i4C Innovation Centre in Trail last week to announce nine projects being funded through the BC Rural Dividend Program.

“Rural communities across our region are great places to live and work, and these projects will make them stronger and more sustainable,” Conroy said in Thursday news release.

“The Rural Dividend awards will help advance economic development, create new tourism opportunities and attract global education markets to our region.”

One of the recipients in the immediate area was the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce. The nonprofit received $100,000 to direct into marketing tourism in the Lower Columbia.

“On behalf of myself, the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Chamber Membership – I would like to say how excited we are to have received a favorable response to our Rural Dividend Fund Application,” Ed Attridge, the chamber’s executive director, told the Trail Times.

“It is important to recognize that the Chamber will be be working closely with Tourism Rossland regarding this project. This type of collaboration between partner agencies within the region is a primary objective of the project and the Chamber looks forward to working with Tourism Rossland as we move forward with implementation”.

Project awards for Kootenay West:

• Castlegar Sculpturewalk Society is being awarded $10,000 to help expand an annual rotating exhibition of outdoor sculptures to cities throughout the Kootenays.

• The Corporation of the Village of Slocan is being awarded $60,500 to develop a detailed design plan to support the continuation of its Harold Street North downtown improvement project.

• Village of Nakusp is being awarded $66,400 to develop an investment lands inventory, a community investment readiness assessment and a marketing strategy.

• The Corporation of the City of Rossland is being awarded $97,919 to complete architectural and schematic designs, working drawings and tender documents to redevelop a highway works yard in the city into affordable housing and mixed-use commercial spaces.

• Visions for Small Schools Society is being awarded $99,634 to hire a youth recruitment and marketing co-ordinator to present Rossland to the global education market by promoting the Seven Summits Centre for Learning as an option for innovative, technologically advanced schooling for youth in grades 8 to 12.

• Kootenay Association for Science and Technology is being awarded $100,000 to build on the Kootenay Workforce Attraction Initiative to address the need for technology coders, programmers and sales workers, and to support the adoption of digital technology by the forestry workforce.

• The Regional District of Central Kootenay is being awarded $100,000 to build a beginner lesson loop and rental/staging area at the Mount Abriel mountain bike trail, as well as a 3.8-km portion of the Peak to Beach trail.

• Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is being awarded $100,000 for Phase 2 of a tourism marketing project for the Lower Columbia Region.

• Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society is being awarded $500,000 to further drive innovation in the advanced materials and technology sectors, and continue to position the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary as a global centre of excellence in metallurgy and advanced materials, digital technologies, industrial internet of things and big data, and industrial recycling.

Background:

Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing more than $1.1 million for nine projects in the West Kootenay region.

“This funding supports the diverse needs of small towns throughout the province and the people who live in them,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Our government is getting results for people in small cities and towns in every region, creating jobs and enhancing everyday services and amenities for families around the province.”

Almost $19 million in 153 single applicant and partnership project grants are being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations through the Rural Dividend Program.

These grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province.

Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project, or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.

As well, over $4.6 million in grants are being provided through the program’s special circumstances stream to support 23 applicants responding to economic challenges resulting from the loss of a main employer or the impacts of a natural disaster.

Additionally, $673,124 were awarded through the project development stream to communities around the province to complete preliminary work to support future projects.

The Rural Dividend encourages economic diversification through community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business sector development.

The Government of British Columbia has committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2021-22.

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