The Village of Port Alice and the North Island Region have received $30,000 in funds from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour. The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) is matching that investment with an additional $30,000.
The $60,000 in total funding will support the creation of an economic development and implementation strategy for Port Alice and to the Regional District of Mount Waddington. They will work with North Island communities to prioritize regional economic initiatives.
Each project will involve a group of local stakeholders who will guide and inform the work going forward. The RDMW will be reaching out to communities and talking with local industry in Port Alice, Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Alert Bay to seek their input for this plan.
“Diversifying our local economy is critical for the Village of Port Alice,” said Village of Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen.
“We need to create a variety of employment opportunities. Our future lies with a diversified economy which will support forestry, tourism, marine-based ventures and the development of amenities that attract families, new residents, retirees and visitors alike,” Allen said.
“The Regional District of Mount Waddington has been working with North Island communities for several years to help diversify our economy,” said RDMW Chair Dave Rushton. “The proposed Regional Economic Development Forum will provide the communities with an opportunity to join Port Alice to identify common themes and objectives and co-ordinate efforts to attract new investment and jobs to the region,” Rushton said.
Port Alice and the North Island are in the midst of challenging times with the recent announcement that a major employer in the area, Neucel Specialty Cellulose, is on temporary curtailment until 2016.
Port Alice and region has an economic history tied to a small number of industries which mainly includes the forestry sector. Plans are to enhance economic development by attracting investment and supporting new and existing businesses.
A Regional Economic Development Forum will be held to bring together government, business, key organizations and the communities to brainstorm ways to strengthen business development on Northern Vancouver Island.