Powell River Educational Services Society has received $20,000 in federal funding for improvements to the Powell Forest Canoe Route.
Funding will be used to upgrade the route, which is a popular feature and destination in qathet region.
The money is coming from the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan). Minister of emergency preparedness and minister responsible for PacifiCan Harjit Sajjan said the money is coming from the tourism relief fund, which is providing money to 15 projects on Vancouver Island and the coast.
“The program was created to provide opportunities in areas that normally wouldn’t get funding like this,” said Sajjan, in an interview with the Peak. “We can attract visitors from all over to enjoy tourism features, and to help drive the economy in communities.”
Sajjan said PacifiCan, the funding agency, has only been in existence a couple of years, replacing the former Western Economic Diversification agency.
“BC wasn’t getting its fair share,” said Sajjan. “Members of parliament spoke to the prime minister and he agreed, realizing the importance of BC having its own agency. Now, with those funds, we can directly target into those communities, and importantly, now that we have offices across the province, it allows for local community engagement.
“What we found is a lot of times people didn’t know there were opportunities for which they could apply. This allows us to find unique opportunities.”
Sajjan said PacifiCan is provided $110 million in core funding each year that allows the organization to support projects such as the Powell Forest Canoe Route.
“Some of the bigger projects get bigger media play but what I love the most is these small grants, which can have a huge impact in small communities or tourism,” said Sajjan. “We want to take advantage of that.
“I get to learn a lot. We have aligned our priorities with the provincial government, so it allows us to maximize our dollars. We have clean technology that we are investing in, we have research hubs that we are investing in. Small businesses that can’t afford research can take advantage of the research that is taking place.”
Sajjan said PacifiCan is reaching out across the province, looking for amazing opportunities.
“Ultimately, PacifiCan is still an economic development agency and we want to look at how to create greater economic job growth.”
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