Hello! Summer is here and Quadra is beautiful, the community and the land. Economic diversification is important for a healthy island economy: read on for details on some grants which may be of interest to community groups and/or businesses. As well, this report has an update on the Wharves Initiative which is heading into a summer Alternative Approval Process despite my hopes to have it happen at a less busy time of year.
Wharves Initiative: ready, set, go!
Approval from the Inspector for Municipalities has been received, and the SRD is now proceeding with an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to determine elector assent to Wharves Service Bylaw 487. The Wharves Service would authorize the Regional District to annually requisition funds to operate and maintain the Surge Narrows, Owen Bay and Port Neville wharves which were divested to the Regional District from Transport Canada in 2014.
If you are in support of the Wharves Service, there are no forms to fill out: the Alternative Approval Process does not provide you a voice. However, taking part in a proactive, fact-based discussion with friends, neighbours and islanders is something you can do to privately or publicly support the initiative.
Alternately, if you are opposed to the Wharves Service, there is an official form to fill out and hardcopy submitted (no fax or email) by end of day August 3, 2023 to the SRD office. The Alternate Approval Process has a threshold of 10% of elector submissions. Fewer than 242 submissions and the Board may adopt the bylaw without further approvals; 242 or more and the Wharves Service could only be considered if a referendum/assent voting opportunity proved a majority of the community are in favour.
Many words have been written about the potential wharves service; this report doesn’t aim to write them again. It’s not awesome that the maintenance costs of these wharves were offloaded to our rural area. Area C is more than Quadra: it encompasses many islands. The Outer Discovery Islands residents I’ve spoken with are all keen for this initiative to pass. Remote-living residents of Area C manage many challenges, I hope a lack of a wharf isn’t one of them. Hungry for more info? The SRD has a fairly comprehensive info & FAQ page, find all you might desire here: srd.ca/proposed-wharves-service-initiative/. And finally, apropos for our island life, let’s remember that a rising tide lifts all boats.
Economic diversification and potential grants
Recently I met with Bridget Horel, a manager for Regional and Rural Development for North Vancouver Island in the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development & Innovation. She shared information about several grant programs which may be of interest to both community groups and businesses.
The Rural Economic Development and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) is designed to “promote economic capacity building, resilience, clean economy opportunities and infrastructure development”. The grant funding could be used develop a plan, because plans take time and resources to create.
REDIP had a winter 2022 intake; another is planned for summer 2023. Within the 2022 intake the Strathcona Regional District applied for REDIP support to fund Last Mile connectivity on Quadra Island: the application was unsuccessful. I’d love to see some island projects get Provincial support, are there collaborative ideas brewing which could use this spark to start?
Economic development is best when it is fostering local innovation and “place based”. The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund aims to create or diversify jobs for local workers and is specifically aimed at rural, remote & forestry-dependent communities. This fund has a focus on value-added business within the forestry sector and extends to all manufacturing. Another Provincial program available is the BC Employer Training Grant, funds which support skills development & training for new or current employees.
Bridget has offered to meet with folks who are interested in REDIP or other Provincial grant opportunities to answer questions, and she offers support during the grant application writing process if needed. There is free grant-writing support for tourism-related projects through Destination BC. If you’d like to attend a meeting on Quadra Island to learn more, please connect with me or Bridget; she can be reached at Bridget.Horel@gov.bc.ca; 250-850-1770.
You’re welcome to connect with me with your questions or concerns. During July and August, please email to book a meeting. You can email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call/ text 250.203.2468. Thank you for being an engaged community member and reading this update!
Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,