Southern Gulf Islands now get access to funding, support from Island Coastal Economic Trust

After 10 years of requesting inclusion, the southern Gulf Islands are now eligible for funding through Island Coastal Economic Trust.

photo of man looking into window of eatery on salt spring island
Photo by Shinta Kikuchi on Unsplash.

The Government of BC has announced it is expanding the number of communities Island Coastal Economic Trust will support moving forward. ICET, as it is known, is one of the province’s three publicly funded regional trusts.

The expansion includes organizations within the Capital Regional District (CRD) electoral areas of Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and the southern Gulf Islands and means they are now eligible to apply for funding from ICET and to be included in other services that ICET provides.

The decision to include the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and southern Gulf Islands electoral areas was made because the Province determined these communities have fewer services than their urban CRD neighbours, lack the ability to cover the costs of core services and amenities and face challenges in developing their economies.

Francine Carlin, chair of the Salt Spring Island Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) says this is a huge milestone for their community.

“We now have the ability to take full advantage in applying for government grants that up till now we were excluded from. The inequality has kept us from receiving supports for projects like a regional food hub, village and cultural revitalization, broadband network planning, destination trails and pathways, as well as initiatives including, agri-food innovation strategies and green business attraction.”

Carlin adds “we can now have access to larger funding that will ensure COVID-19 economic recovery is prioritized.”

ICET was created by the B.C. government in 2006. It is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

“Expanding the trust’s service area means more small communities will be eligible for funding that will help them grow and thrive, supporting projects such as building new infrastructure, enhancing small-business opportunities or supporting Indigenous economic development,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “As with StrongerBC, ICET is working hard to build an economic recovery for British Columbia that is innovative, sustainable and inclusive.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since its inception in 2006, ICET has invested more than $52 million in 225 projects, working in partnership with over 150 organizations involved in regional economic diversification.
  • These investments have leveraged more than $245 million into the region, or $4.62 for every dollar of ICET funding, and created 2,550 construction-phase jobs and 2,700 long-term jobs.
  • More than 35% of funding has gone to communities of fewer than 5,000 people.
  • The other regional economic trusts publicly funded by the Province are the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.