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$500k Benefits Northern Vancouver Island Workers

by NationTalk on September 14, 2009441 Views

For Immediate Release
Ministry of Community and Rural Development
September 14, 2009

VICTORIA – Resource workers in northern Vancouver Island communities will be improving trails in order to diversify their local economies and gain access to employment opportunities, thanks to $501,154 in funding from the Job Opportunities Program and Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), announced Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley on behalf of Bill Bennett, Minister of Community and Rural Development, and Barry J. Janyk, ICET Chair.“By working together with ICET, the Job Opportunities Program is keeping 26 resource workers employed, while strengthening the economic foundations of these communities,” said McRae. “These trails and caves highlight the beauty of the west coast and the skills of our resource workers will make sure these areas can be used for many years to come.”

“The ICET board decided to respond to the current crisis in the forest sector and to assist in any way that it could, consistent with its mandate for economic development,” said Janyk. “Trails are a major component of the trust’s tourism sector, so helping resource workers right now will ensure a permanent economic legacy will also be created.”

The funding includes three trail projects within the Regional District of Mount Waddington. On the San Josef Bay Trail in Cape Scott Provincial Park, workers will repair, resurface and enhance 2.7 km of trail, enabling more visitors to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of San Josef Bay as they embark upon the North Coast Trail.

In addition, workers will improve Alice Lake Loop, the first phase in the creation of a recreational corridor between Port McNeill and Port Alice. Workers will repair and enhance key trails and attractions, including limestone rock landscape features known as ‘karsts’. Work will take place at the Devil’s Bath, a rock bowl filled by an underground stream, and the Eternal Fountain, an underground cave marked by a waterfall. Workers will also enhance and repair Link River Regional Park and campground, the gateway to these attractions, as well as the Spruce Bay Recreation site.

Finally, workers will start on the first phase of a recreational corridor that will run from Port McNeill and the Kwakiutl First Nation’s Cluxewe Resort to both Malcolm Island (Sointula) and Cormorant Island (Alert Bay). There will be a substantial investment in trail repair and enhancement in each of these locations linked by the Tri-Island ferry service. Workers will also repair and enhance Bere Point Regional Park and Campground on Malcolm Island and Broughton Campground near Port McNeill.

ICET is providing up to $250,000 per project, part of a 12-month agreement with the Community Development Trust allocating up to $2 million for the development of trails in the North Island and Sunshine Coast regions. This funding is being implemented by the Job Opportunities Program, which is supporting projects that provide immediate employment in the region.

“These trails showcase world-class ocean scenery and will help draw more tourists to explore this region,” said Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. “We expect that many visitors will enjoy the improvements our resource workers make to these trails.”

The Job Opportunities Program was first announced in May 2008 as one component of the federally-funded $129-million Community Development Trust. In July 2009, the provincial government committed an additional $30 million towards the program, which the federal government is matching on a project-by-project basis through the Community Adjustment Fund.

The Province of British Columbia’s contribution to the Job Opportunities Program is part of its commitment to provide stability for workers and communities, maintain the workforce during the economic downturn and help British Columbians gain new skills to be successful in the future.

ICET was established by legislation in 2006 and makes strategic investments in economic development priorities including forestry, transportation, tourism, mining, energy, Olympic opportunities, economic development, agriculture and aquaculture, and small business. The ICET region encompasses all regional districts and municipalities on Vancouver Island north of the Malahat, as well as the Powell River and Sunshine Coast regional districts.

ICET has approved $38 million for over 40 projects on the Island and Sunshine Coast since starting its grant program in 2007. The total impact of these investments is estimated at $213 million.

For more information about the Community Development Trust and Job Opportunities Program, go to: www.cd.gov.bc.ca/cdt/ A full overview of ICET can be found at: www.islandcoastaltrust.ca

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Media Contact:

Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Community and Rural Development
250 387-4089

Mayor Barry J. Janyk
and ICET Chair
Town of Gibsons
Tel. 604 886-2274
Fax 604 886-9735
www.gibsons.ca

Al Baronas, CEO
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250 334-2427 Extension 223
Fax 250 331-0962
info[at]islandcoastaltrust.ca

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca

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