The City of Cranbrook purchased 100 acres of industrial land formerly owned by Tembec in 2018. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.

Cranbrook, Kimberley receive provincial grants for economic development

The provincial government has awarded $14 million in grants to support rural economic development, and Cranbrook is getting a small slice of it.

The city will receive $80,000 that will be used for investment attraction and marketing of the industrial lands formerly owned by Tembec. According to the description attached to the funding announcement, the funding will go towards looking at how the city can take an economic approach to developing a green and renewable energy industrial park on the 99 acres of property.

The City of Cranbrook purchased the property two years ago and have been working towards developing the area in order to attract economic investment. Plans to install deep and shallow utilities this summer were put on hold due as part of a plan to put discretionary spending on hold while riding out the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kimberley Community Development Society also benefited from a $100,000 grant which will go towards the Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative in order to develop an economic strategy that aims to attract businesses in the outdoor recreation industry to relocate to the Kootenay region. Additionally, the plan also includes conducting an Outdoor Industry Scan to assess the workforce and business support needs to develop a regional outdoor industry hub.

The Kootenay region is receiving roughly $2.6 million of the total $14 million earmarked from the province, according to a news release. The funding will support 24 projects across the region, while 150 projects across B.C. are benefiting from the provincial support.

“Our NDP government understands the importance of investing in rural people and communities,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West, in a news release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on rural people and businesses, and these investments will help as our local economies start to build back.”

The one-time grant funding was made available to First Nations, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations. Grant recipients were identified from intakes into the Rural Dividend Program last summer.

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