Ahead of the Provincial Budget presentation next week, Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, announced an investment of $10 million in 2017-18 to the North Island-Coast Development Initiative Trust – referred to as Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) to support job creation and economic diversification in the Central South Island Region and the North Island-Sunshine Coast Region.
Stillwell made the announcement at the Nanaimo Port Authority’s Welcome Centre to showcase one of the many great projects funded in part by ICET. Other examples of ICET-funded projects include the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the Cowichan Farm Incubator, Gibsons Public Market, the Salish Sea Marine Trail, the Sunshine Coast Trail, the Remote Regions Enhanced Marketing Plan and the Sunshine Coast Regional Signage Strategy.
The trust was established in 2006 as an entity independent from government to support the economic development of the Central South Island Region and the North Island-Sunshine Coast Region and is guided by a board of directors and two regional advisory committees (RACs) which include more than 50 locally elected officials and MLAs and five appointees.
Funding the Island Coastal Economic Trust is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.
On Feb. 21, 2017, Finance Minister Michael de Jong will introduce the Province’s fifth consecutive balanced budget.