The Salt Spring Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is thrilled to announce that local advocacy efforts have finally paid off. The Province has issued an Order in Council qualifying Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands for access to the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET).
Founded in 2006, ICET provides grant funding to rural coastal communities along with resources designed specifically to assist with pandemic recovery.
For years Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands of Galiano, Mayne, Pender, and Saturna have been unfairly left out due to being within the classification of the mostly urban Capital Regional District (CRD).
CEDC Chair, Francine Carlin says being part of ICET is a huge milestone for our 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.” She adds, “We can now have access to larger funding that will ensure Covid economic recovery is prioritized.”
Advocacy activities, lead by the CEDC, via the Exchange, social media, and through dozens of constituent letters, were strengthened with support from MLA Adam Olsen, along with CRD SSI-Electoral Area Director, Gary Holman and the CRD Board. MLA Adam Olsen strongly urged Minister Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, as well as Premier John Horgan, to end the inequity. He insisted they address the years of advocacy that had already taken place and in his words, “We can continue to converse about this, or we can just do the order that needs to be done.” That order has now been made official.
Salt Spring CRD Director Holman urged the new Minister Kahlon to treat all electoral areas within the CRD consistently and fairly, particularly during this COVID pandemic that has devastated our local economies. With the new access to funding that comes with inclusion in ICET, our community will be able to apply for monies that will help shape a sustainable recovery for our Islands.