Ontario invests $226,013 to support economic development in Bay of Quinte communities
Rural Economic Development funding matches local project contributions
QUINTE WEST — Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced the Province will support three Bay of Quinte projects with up to $226,013 in cost-sharing funding through the latest intake of the Rural Economic Development (RED) program.
The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board will receive $149,988 for collaborative marketing and outreach, the City of Belleville will receive $51,025 for an industrial sector business retention and expansion study, and the City of Quinte West will receive $25,000 for downtown revitalization via community improvement incentive programs for the commercial and tourism sectors. The provincial contributions, through the RED Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream, represent 50-per-cent of total eligible project costs.
“Growing our local economy in the Quinte region takes partners in government and the private sector all working together to achieve common goals,” said Smith. “This provincial assistance through the Rural Economic Development program helps leverage investment for maximum results.”
Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs adds: “Our government values rural communities throughout the province, and this program provides municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profits with the funding they need for projects that contribute to the local economy vitally. The RED program is another example of how our government is ensuring small towns and communities across Ontario continue to share in the province’s growth and economic prosperity.”
The successful applicants value the collaborative program.
“RED funding is one of the best opportunities in our sector’s landscape because it gives you project flexibility,” said Dug Stevenson, the Executive Director of the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board. “We were fortunate to get approval this round to support destination marketing with things like billboards, radio, video, and programmatic, but also to scale up and hire an additional employee. This is the second time we’ve benefitted in this way from RED. As a smaller organization with a limited budget, that’s a huge opportunity for us and it’s allowed our organization to grow from a team of three to a team of five over the last five years.”
Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis said the business retention and expansion program will produce an action plan comprised of strategic moves the City can take to support industrial sector growth and expansion.
“The City of Belleville is grateful for the support of the Province to reach out to our manufacturers in this post-COVID environment,” Ellis said. “This critical sector in our City’s economy has had its own unique impacts from COVID and more recent economic pressures. RED funding will support our work to establish a BR+E task force who, together with a corps of trained volunteers and our BR+E co-ordinator, will interview Belleville manufacturers to understand the obstacles and opportunities and how the City can support their success.”
Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison said the funding will help advance economic development in his downtown.
“The City of Quinte West’s Downtown Community Improvement Plan has been an integral tool for economic development and downtown revitalization for many years. We are excited to receive RED funding to enhance the existing community improvement plan, but also to implement a tourism-sector community improvement plan to support developing new and exciting tourism experiences in our community,” Harrison said.
The RED program provides cost-sharing funding support toward activities that create strong rural communities. This includes funding assistance to build local capacity and improve job prospects. The program aligns with the government’s priorities of removing barriers to investment, opening doors to rural economic development, and creating good jobs across the province.
- Through this intake, Ontario is supporting up to 80 projects via $4.3 million in cost-sharing funding to projects that promote economic diversification and competitiveness and strategic economic infrastructure.
- Since 2019, the RED program has invested more than $21.6 million to fund more than 380 projects that are helping to attract investment, create jobs, and boost economic development in communities across the province.
- No date has been set for the opening of the next intake of the RED program. For more information about RED, please visit www.ontario.ca/REDprogram.