The Town of Qualicum Beach council will write a letter requesting the provincial government continue funding the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET).
Mayor Teunis Westbroek acknowledged the importance of financially sustaining ICET as the town and many surrounding areas greatly benefited from the support and investments they’ve received from the economic development organization.
ICET was established by the BC government in 2006 with $50 million under the North Island-Cost Development Initiative Trust Act. Since then ICET has allocated funds to a myriad of community projects and programs that support economic diversification and growth across Vancouver Island.
The organization has been facing uncertainty as its funds are rapidly dwindling. The provincial government did replenish ICET’s finances with another $10 million over five years ago.
“That money is running out,” Westbroek told council at its regular meeting on March 1. He also pointed out the people who supported getting the additional funding for ICET in the past are currently in government. “So, I think they know all the reasons why they should continue with this great program which takes a lot of pressure off the province going through a lot of applications for grants to advance tourism and other businesses, especially communities that have been suffering because of forestry decline or fishing industry and so on.”
Coun. Scott Harrison made a motion that was unanimously endorsed by council, to write a letter in support of ICET to the provincial government. He had confirmation from ICET that the province will not be providing funding at this time, which he said is a serious concern.
“They’re (ICET) required by law to come up with a strategic plan in a month’s time,” Harrison explained. “And so, if there’s no funding in a month’s time, they’re basically going to have to announce that they’re going out of business and is about to disappear. I don’t think that’s what the provincial government wants but here we are.”
Harrison added that they also forward the letter to the City of Parksville council to convince them to do the same.