Cultural, Tourism and Hospitality Projects Receive New Small Capital Grants


Funding support for revenue generation and business restart opportunities swings into action

COURTENAY, 15 June 2020 – Three new projects from Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre, Homalco Wildlife Tours and the District of Tofino have all been approved under the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) recently launched Small Capital Restart Funding Stream.

The program, launched on June 4th, provides urgent, short-term COVID-related business and industry restart and sustainability funding for time-sensitive initiatives. The grants of up to $15,000 will support immediate opportunities to develop innovative solutions to operational restrictions and business closures.

The Tidemark Theatre’s “Streaming the Tide and Beyond” project will receive funding to purchase equipment required to pre-record content and live stream performances. With no immediate opportunities for a normal return to operations, the Tidemark Theatre has had to rethink its service delivery model for an online and physically distanced audience. The new streaming model will enable the society to restart programming despite closures and will create an opportunity to make live events sustainable despite attendance restrictions. The new model will also provide businesses, arts and culture organizations and event organizers with a means to disseminate productions, workshops, lectures or other events beyond the walls of the Tidemark addressing needs in remote communities and schools, senior care or other underserved markets.

“Fostering business recovery and continuity in the region are top priorities,” says ICET CEO Line Robert. “The Tidemark project shows how re-imagining business models for the “new normal” – with hybrid sources of revenue – can allow for a quicker restart that ultimately improves longer term sustainability.”

Homalco Wildlife Tours, like many tourism operations in the region, has been deeply affected by the cancellation or extreme limitation of cultural and bear tours. The “Orford Live Bear Cams” project will enable the installation of equipment for virtual wildlife viewing, with access to a wildlife biologist for a more interactive and personal experience.  This initiative will create awareness and maintain the connection with the global wildlife tourism market, generating new bookings for the many regional tourism operators who provide tours in the Bute Inlet area. This tool will also generate revenue through donations that can further support the Orford salmon hatchery and bear research program.
“We’re impressed to see the quality of projects come through in such a short period of time,” says ICET Board Chair Josie Osborne. “Initiatives such as a remote wildlife viewing are going to play a key role in sustaining the attention of the international travel market during restrictions. In the longer term, the conservation revenue generated will also support the practice of regenerative tourism, whereby visitors are encouraged to contribute to the community and environmental well-being of the places they visit.”
The District of Tofino will be receiving funding for its “Al Fresco Dining Pop-Ups”, to address the operational and financial challenges faced by food service establishments due to physical distancing measures. These temporary set ups in public spaces, will include picnic and bistro style tables, tents and hand washing stations, improving the visitor experience and providing a more appealing alternative to having take-out in hotel rooms or at home. Outside seating will also provide a fresh air option that residents and visitors may feel more comfortable with. This concerted partnership approach will incorporate programming, temporary art displays and performance, engaging local artists and driving additional vitality to the downtown core.
All three projects are set to get underway in the coming days.
For more information about the program, please see our guidelines and application form:


About the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional governments, non-profits and indigenous communities, ICET serves nearly half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $52 million in funding for over 200 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2500 construction phase jobs and 2650 long term permanent jobs.  

For further information:
Amanda Fortier, Communications Officer
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 (Ext. 232)

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