The Regional District of Nanaimo board has voted to scrap Northern Communities Economic Development grants program. (File Photo)

RDN scraps economic grants program for Parksville Qualicum Beach area

All applications now being directed to community grant program in 2021

The Regional District of Nanaimo has discontinued the Northern Community Economic Develpment grants program that serves the District 69 region.

Organizations and groups in the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach, Electoral Areas E (Nanoose Bay), F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood, G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum), and H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) that apply for grants to help fund events and projects are now being directed to the Community Grants program starting in 2021.

For this year, however, all the applications for funding through the NCED have been cancelled due to the economic certainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The RDN will now return the 2020 requisitioned funds for the program totalling $50,000 to the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas. The District 69 areas will resume the annual contribution of $50,000 to the program in 2021.

READ MORE: Grant funds held back for Parksville Qualicum Beach area

The decision to discontinue the NCED program and return funds was endorsed by the RDN board at its meeting on May 26.

The recommendation to cancel the NCED program was based on the review conducted by Van Struth Consulting Group Inc that came presented to the RDN board a report entitled “Regional Economic Development Review – Workshop Report and Recommendations.

The consultant recommended the RDN consolidate funding for related programs within the regional economic development service. That included the NCED to be placed under the RDN Community Grants program in 2021.

There was also a recommendation by the consultant that the RDN work with the City of City of Nanaimo, the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, the District of Lantzville and Oceanside Initiatives to identify opportunities that will lead to the creation of a regional economic development service. The RDN board voted against this.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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