Provincial grant to fund study into Gabriola Enterprise Zone

Gabriola Chamber of Commerce

Press Release

Wednesday, January 23 2019

What would a positive-impact community-minded industrial-zoned property look like on Gabriola? What could Gabriolans manufacture that creates employment, enhances local resilience and is ecologically responsible? What could islanders process and produce to build local sustainability and a thriving economy? 

This is where Gabriola gets to think big with an open inventive outlook! 

The Gabriola Chamber is happy to announce their successful grant of $9,000 from the Ministry of Forest, Land, Natural Resources, Operations and Rural Development. This funding is part of the community economic development initiative created and governed by the Chamber, and led by the Economic Development Advisory Group and the Community Economic Development Officer (CEDO), Julie Sperber. 

The application was submitted in July 2018 and is titled the Gabriola Enterprise Zone. It is a feasibility study to explore the idea of rezoning a property on Gabriola to Industrial. 

The vision of the Gabriola Enterprise Zone is to further foster island resiliency, by partnering it with economic initiatives, for overall community prosperity. 

Chamber President, Gloria Hatfield said, “The idea is further linked to developing new sectors on the island that diversify our economy and create long-term year-round living-wage employment.”

This re-zoned space would open the way for small scale manufacturing, production or processing that would further diversify the Gabriola economy while creating desirable new year-round employment opportunities. The new enterprises could supply Gabriola needs with services, products and resources that currently have to be sourced off island. Thus potentially reducing ferry traffic. This space would also foster new entrepreneurial endeavours, including co-ops, innovative social enterprises and collaborations among them. 

Graham Bradley, Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Group outlined that this study will be a comprehensive analysis examining: pros/cons, challenges, community needs/support, process, potential stakeholders and enterprise. It will also look for properties that would be suitable, if any.  

“Julie is working all sorts of angles and opportunities to help the community better thrive within our treasured Gabriolan culture.” 

Watch for community engagement opportunities in late winter.  

Meanwhile, if you have ideas, suggestions or other feedback, contact: 

Julie Sperber

ecdev@gabriolaisland.org

250-668-5389

Or drop-in during CEDO Open Office Hours: Tuesdays 4-7pm at #6-490 North Rd.

Within the Rural Dividend program, the Province is providing $673,124 in project development grants to support rural communities throughout B.C.

This is the fifth intake of the BC Rural Dividend program, with 68 local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations receiving funding.

Under the Rural Dividend project development funding stream, up to $10,000 is provided to eligible applicants to do preliminary work that is necessary to pursue larger community projects in the future.