A brand new funding program will support initiatives that provide socio-economic benefits to the Elk Valley. Columbia Basin Trust has committed $200,000 a year for the next three years to go towards the Elk Valley Community Directed Funds (EVCDF) program.
An EVCDF Committee will oversee the program and will be led by Chair Mary Giuliano. The committee is made up of Regional District of East Kootenay Elk Valley Directors Lois Halko, Dean McKerracher, and Mike Sosnowski, along with community members Dan Savage, Michael Hepher, Troy Tobin, and John Baher.
“We held our first meeting earlier this month and one of our first steps was to authorize the preparation of a Request for Proposal to prepare the Elk Valley Community Priorities Plan,” explained Mary Giuliano, EVCDF Chair and Mayor of Fernie. “The RFP will be available within the next couple of months and we expect the plan preparation to take about six to eight months.”
After a consultant is hired, community consultation will be the next key step in researching and developing a Priorities Plan. The plan will identify the priorities of the Elk Valley and outline criteria to help select or develop projects.
“What makes this program unique is that it is aimed at valley-wide projects as opposed to community specific ones,” said Giuliano. “I believe this gives us a wonderful opportunity to work collaboratively toward common goals for the valley as a whole.”
The EVCDF Committee is a standing committee of the Regional District of East Kootenay. The RDEK will administer and operate the Elk Valley Community Directed Funds program in accordance with the contribution agreement between Columbia Basin Trust and the RDEK.