KELOWNA, BC: The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) is pleased to provide an update on the Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Program, delivered with financial support from the Province of BC’s Rural Business and Community Recovery Initiative. This program aims to provide support to rural communities in the Southern Interior of BC facing ongoing changes in forest sector employment.
The ETSI-BC FIR Program focuses on community and business recovery. So far, 17 Host Organizations have had funding of $1.3 million approved, supporting the creation of 19 Recovery Advisor positions.
The list of partners deploying FIR Recovery Advisors with this funding includes two First Nations organizations and four local governments, five Chambers of Commerce, five Community Futures offices, one industry group and one community economic development group. Ten of the Recovery Advisor Host Organizations are based in the Thompson-Okanagan and Fraser Valley regions and eight organizations serve communities and businesses in the Columbia-Kootenay-Boundary regions.
The FIR Program Recovery Advisors will play a vital role in driving economic recovery and growth in communities affected by forest sector changes. The selected Advisors will provide support to local governments, First Nations, economic development agencies, and non-profit business support organizations serving communities within the ETSI-BC service area with populations under 25,000. The Recovery Advisors will focus on serving communities impacted by various “Forest Impacts,” such as recent mill curtailments or closures, loss of forest sector employers, declining fibre supply, significant wildfire seasons, pine beetle infestations, or caribou habitat protection.
“We are committed to assisting rural businesses and smaller communities in the Southern Interior of BC as they navigate the challenges brought about by the reduction in timber supply,” said Laurel Douglas, CEO of ETSI-BC. “Through the FIR Program, we are funding substantive services and resources for impacted businesses and communities, which will foster economic benefits, increased resilience, and meaningful collaboration.”
Paul Wiest, Project Consultant for ETSI-BC in the Columbia-Kootenay region, emphasized the importance of collaboration in this program. “The FIR Program encourages organizations and local governments to come together and leverage their capacity to create incremental supports and resources for businesses and communities impacted by changes in the forest sector caused by declining supply, habitat protection, and the Province’s new “old growth” strategy.”
Renata King, ETSI-BC Project Consultant responsible for the Thompson-Okanagan region, added, “Through the FIR Program, we can continue to address the challenges faced by Southern Interior of BC communities due to forestry disruptions, building upon the success of the Rural Business & Community Recovery Program delivered in fiscal 2021-23.”
Funding for the FIR Program is part of the $185-million support package announced in Budget 2022 to ensure that co-ordinated and comprehensive supports are in place to offset any economic impacts from a changing forestry industry. It’s part of the Province’s StrongerBC Economic Plan. The FIR Program will assist rural communities in the Southern Interior of BC with populations under 25,000 and non-profit business support organizations serving those communities.
Here is a full list of the Host Organizations receiving FIR Recovery Advisor Funding:
- Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce
- District of Barriere
- Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce
- Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations
- Community Futures Central Kootenay
- Community Futures Revelstoke
- Community Futures Sun Country
- Community Futures Thompson Country
- Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce
- District of Clearwater
- Interior Logging Association
- Kootenay Employment Services Society
- Merritt & District Chamber of Commerce
- Nakusp and Area Development Board
- Neskonlith Indian Band
- Regional District of Central Okanagan
ETSI-BC, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, was created in 2006 with a $50 million endowment to assist in the growth and diversification of the economy of the Southern Interior of BC. The Trust is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, receiving input from Regional Advisory Committees made up of elected officials from both the Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Kootenay regions. We add value to the economic development ecosystem and provide funding for projects in four key funding streams:
1) Building economic development capacity,
2) Supporting business resilience and growth,
3) Developing human capital, and
4) Innovating and advancing key sectors.
For more information about ETSI-BC, visit the Our Story page on our website at www.etsi-bc.ca.
For More Information, please contact: Laurel Douglas, CEO | 236.420.3680 | email@example.com
|We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.|