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Kelowna receives funds to support community during slowdown in forestry sector


May 27, 2020
By City of Kelowna

The City of Kelowna has received a $100,000 provincial grant from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to help people affected by the slowdown in the forestry sector.

The Community Support Grant Program from the Province of British Columbia supports Interior BC communities impacted by forestry industry closures or shift reductions.

City staff met with various community partners to determine the best way to distribute this funding.

“Many options were considered as we prepared the funding application to determine the types of services that would provide the greatest benefit to the workers and our community in general,” said Grants and Special Projects Manager Lorna Wilson.

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The Tolko mill in Kelowna shut down in November, leaving 233 full-time employees out of work, and affecting contractors and suppliers in the community. The grant application was submitted by the City before the March 31 deadline and was recently approved by the Province.

Staff’s recommendation was to allocate funding for community-based services currently in place and will benefit the community during the challenging circumstances currently affecting our city.

“At times when communities are under stress, supporting Community Support Services becomes even more critical,” said Wilson. “These service agencies assist in maintaining the health and well being of individuals and families. Investing in this sector can assist them in addressing the expanded needs of the community by putting in place a ‘safety net’ for citizens in our community during these trying times.”

Funding will be distributed to the following organizations that offer valuable community support services which may provide some relief for workers from the impact of loss of employment, and the compounding effect of COVID-19:

Kelowna Community Food Bank – $45,000. to enhance current programs
Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) Crisis Line – support for current program and increased call volume – $25,000.
Elizabeth Fry Society – loss of employment, especially when combined with home isolation can be an additional stressor in relationships – $30,000.

Funding will be dispersed immediately.