The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), one of B.C.’s three publicly funded regional trusts, is expanding to include the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and the southern Gulf Islands electoral areas.
It effectively designates the regions within the Capital Regional District as rural areas.
All three electoral areas are obviously rural but classified as urban simply because they are within the mostly urban CRD.
Until now, the electoral areas received rural-specific funding but were limited in applying for grants from various other lucrative provincial and federal programs.
The decision to include the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and southern Gulf Islands electoral areas were made because the B.C. government determined those communities have fewer services than their urban CRD neighbours, cannot cover the costs of core services and amenities and face challenges in developing their economies, said Ravi Kahlon, minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks pointed out that ICET funding is for economic development, such as tourism and marketing, but not infrastructure.
“Juan de Fuca residents are very grateful to the B.C. government for recognizing our rural nature and including us in ICET. We look forward to working with our neighbouring communities and enhancing our economic development and well-being,” said Hicks, pointing out Premier John Horgan was instrumental in getting the designation for the electoral areas.