The Comox Valley, the Town of Ladysmith and Downtown Duncan latest funding recipients

COURTENAY, 2 July 2020 – The Sid Williams Theatre Society, the Town of Ladysmith and the Downtown Duncan Business Association are latest recipients of funding under the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)’s Small Capital Restart Funding Stream.

The recently launched program encourages innovative approaches to support COVID related business restart and increased sustainability. Up to $15,000 is available for time-sensitive initiatives providing solutions to current health and safety related operational restrictions and business closures.

The Sid Williams Theatre Society (SWTS) project, Livestreaming from the Sid, will receive funding to purchase equipment for professional quality livestreaming of performances, workshops and other community-based events. To mitigate the impacts of physical distancing guidelines, a new hybrid operating model will combine small live audiences (with physical distancing and other safety protocols) with livestreaming. This will enable “The Sid” to reach a wider audience, serve audience members who might otherwise not be able to participate in person and create a new revenue stream to offset attendance limitations. “The Sid” is one of the busiest regional theatres in the province and this project will allow them to provide relevant and meaningful artistic performances in safe and financially viable ways.

“Supporting our cultural and artistic institutions through improved and alternate revenue generation is a long-term investment in our communities,” says ICET CEO Line Robert. “The Streaming from the Sid project and the previously approved Tidemark Theatre project will help to stabilize the regional arts and culture sector pending Phase 4 reopening, providing benefits to community arts organizations, professional  artists, event organizers and the broad audiences these events serve.”

The Town of Ladysmith, like many small communities across BC and Canada, is highly dependent on tourism. With many locals and visitors staying home this summer, the community has developed a multi-pronged initiative to attract visitors and residents to use their historic downtown’s amenities, while supporting local businesses. One aspect of this strategy is the development of permanent eating and gathering areas to add new vibrancy to the downtown area, also providing additional outdoor dining capacity to help food service businesses mitigate the impacts of physical distancing.  ICET funding will be used to develop three distinct areas, featuring concrete picnic tables, umbrellas and Edison-type lighting, designed to complement the historic character of downtown Ladysmith.

“This initiative illustrates how collaboration within a community can help adaptation to a successful ‘new normal’,” says ICET Board Chair Josie Osborne. “It also aligns with the recent launch of the Town’s innovative online investment tool, which will further attract regional residents seeking local experiences this summer.”

In Downtown Duncan, an open-air summer food court will be set up to address restrictions on customer numbers in restaurants and retail shops. The plan is to transform 85 Station Street, a currently unused grassy space, into an arrangement for outdoor dining, shopping and gathering. The area will be carefully managed by hosts to ensure health and safety and will feature an innovative online ordering option. This innovative approach will create new vitality in the downtown core, while supporting the transition to hybrid digital and in-person service in the downtown’s food sector businesses. The new facilities will also support the 39 Days of July music festival and serve as an experiment for future permanent transformation of the downtown space.

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
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 government, 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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