FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2020
BELLEVILLE– Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced this morning the Province of Ontario will contribute $53,572 toward three municipal economic development projects.
Appearing on behalf of Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman, Smith noted that the City of Belleville, the City of Quinte West and Prince Edward County each had a project approved through the updated Rural Economic Development Program (RED), which helps rural and Indigenous communities diversify their economies, retain skilled workers, invest in local infrastructure, and create jobs.
“Through the RED program, our Province is assisting municipalities in gathering knowledge that will help their businesses grow and thrive as they enhance visitor experiences,” said MPP Smith. “These projects will put Bay of Quinte in a better position for recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As part of the Province’s recent $3.3-million commitment in cost sharing for 58 successful projects in the program’s first intake, the Bay of Quinte riding will see the following projects supported:
- The City of Belleville will receive $30,372 to invest in a WiFi communications system for its downtown area. The system will enhance visitor experiences and support local businesses. It will also allow the City to track residential data to contribute to strategic planning. The project will include installation and one year of data analytics. Completion is expected in June 2021.
- The City of Quinte West will receive $13,000 to conduct a Business Retention and Expansion study with a focus on its commercial and retail sector. The project is ongoing.
- Prince Edward County will receive $10,200 to conduct a training series for local agricultural producers who sell directly to their consumers or have interest in doing so. Eight workshops will be held with topics ranging from pricing to regulation, marketing and social media.
Each of the municipalities submitted its proposal as part of a streamlined application process, which was started last year in an effort to reduce the burden on applications.
“Supporting local jobs and removing barriers to investment and economic growth in rural communities is more important than ever,” said Minister Hardeman. “As the economy reopens, our investments in the RED program will have a very real impact for communities across rural Ontario.”
“We are very pleased to receive this Red funding for the downtown Wi-Fi project. The ability to provide free Wi-Fi to shoppers and dining guests is a service which will definitely enhance our visitors’ experience but its more than that. We are excited about the analytics software component because it will provide the City and its partners with visitor data that will enable us to build upon our strong points and target our business communications in a more focused strategic way.”
Mayor Mitch Panciuk, City of Belleville
"This funding announcement will allow the City of Quinte West to move forward with our Business Retention and Expansion survey of the commercial, retail and technology sectors in the city. The information gathered through the survey process will outline current strengths, challenges and opportunities for the City and community partners to implement strategies and actions that will further develop the local business economy."
Mayor Jim Harrison, City of Quinte West
“Value-added agriculture has grown in popularity in recent years, offering outstanding economic development potential for our rural community. The workshops we have offered - in part, thanks to Rural Economic Development (RED) funding - have helped hundreds of people to tap into that demand and make invaluable connections with others working in this area.”
Mayor Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County
Municipalities, not-for-profit entities, Ontario Indigenous communities / organizations or local services boards are eligible for the Rural Economic Development program and costs are shared according to which of the two streams under which the project may fall.
- The RED program offers two project streams:
- Economic Diversification and Competitiveness: Projects that remove barriers to business and job growth, attract investment, attract or retain a skilled workforce, strengthen sector and regional partnerships and diversify regional economies.
- Strategic Economic Infrastructure: Minor capital projects that advance economic development and investment opportunities.
- For the Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream, the province will contribute up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $150,000 while for the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream, the province invests up to 30 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $250,000.
Rural Economic Development Program: https://www.ontario.ca/page/rural-economic-development-program