A number of grant opportunities have come down from the provincial and federal government during COVID-19, and the City of Port Alberni is hoping to take advantage of this funding.
Port Alberni city council has directed city staff to submit applications for two different grant programs. The first grant opportunity, from Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), offers funding for temporary employment to support community economic recovery.
Economic development manager Pat Deakin explained that the city is proposing the hiring of two full-time employees through a third-party organization for six or seven months. These employees would provide one-on-one business support for small- and medium-sized enterprises in Port Alberni.
“They would be dedicated to working with the small business community and with the non-profit organizations to ensure that they have each applied for every provincial, federal and regional grant opportunity that they’re eligible for,” said Deakin.
Mayor Sharie Minions said that she thought it was a worthwhile initiative.
“There are many businesses that have not applied to some of the grant opportunities yet,” said Minions. “It would be great to have somebody really intentionally reaching out. There’s been so much news happening, and I think a lot of business owners are missing opportunities.”
The second grant opportunity comes from the federal government and offers funding for safe and vibrant public spaces. Deakin said the city will be applying for improvements at Harbour Quay.
Deakin said that city is applying to re-paint the Marine Building at Harbour Quay (the building housing the Donut Shop and Salmonberry’s Emporium). The city will also be installing several aluminum panel murals on the fence behind the Marine Building. The idea, he added, came from some of the merchants at these shops. If the grant is approved, the city will also be adding more lights to the area.
Council also directed staff on March 8 to develop two more applications for funding opportunities. One of these, if approved, will provide funding for signage and a wayfinding system for trails within the Alberni Valley. The other would help with renovations of the public safety building opening soon on Third Avenue. These two applications don’t need to be submitted until April.