The Strathcona Regional District is supporting a resolution made by Campbell River council to have coastal communities petition the province to re-fund the Island Economic Trust (ICET).
Directors supported the motion, brought forward by Coun. Charlie Cornfield, which will go before the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention in Courtenay this April.
The motion asks AVICC to petition the provincial government to renew ICET by providing up to $50 million.
Cornfield said that the $50 million that the province gave ICET in 2006 when it was first established, is nearly gone.
In his resolution, Cornfield notes that the funding has been instrumental in helping communities up and down the Island with economic growth-generating projects.
“The $50 million fund has been the key factor in enabling ICET to leverage significant levels of other government, non-government and private sector funding, resulting in important gains for the people, businesses and communities in the AVICC,” reads the resolution.
ICET has contributed funding to communities on central and northern Vancouver Island as well as on the Sunshine Coast.
Projects within the Strathcona Regional District that have received ICET funding include in Campbell River (airport extension project, downtown revitalization, and Elk Falls Suspension Bridge), in Sayward (Kelsey Bay harbour study), and the Salmon Brewster Equine trail and campsite.
In 2013, ICET also committed to partner with the Strathcona Regional District in developing a regional tourism strategy. ICET will provide half of the total project cost of $37,048.
In total, ICET has provided $47.6 million for more than 125 economic infrastructure and development projects in coastal communities and generated more than $268 million in additional investment to the region.
ICET also says it has created more than 2,500 construction jobs and 2,200 long-term jobs and generated $10.4 million in annual provincial government revenue.
ICET has a board of directors and two regional advisory committees that include more than 50 local government officials, including all mayors and regional district chairs. It has a staff of just two people.