Latest Hornby Island Economic Development Strategy to Forge Clear Path Forward

Hornby Island is home to a variety of agricultural activities, including permaculture, horticulture, and aquaculture. Photo courtesy of HICEEC.

New study to delve into current trends, including housing, tourism and infrastructure

COURTENAY, 14 September 2023 – The Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation (HICEEC) is preparing its latest economic development strategy to gain greater insight into current trends and key concerns on the island, through project investment from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Investment Readiness Program.

The new five-year action plan and document will replace a prior economic development action plan, funded in 2015 by the Trust. The renewed strategy will align with major events of the past three years that require an updated perspective and planning.

“Our thanks go to the Island Coastal Economic Trust for their ongoing understanding of, and support for, small communities in the area they serve,” says Karen Ross, Executive Director, Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation.  “For Hornby Island, in particular, the Trust’s expedient decision-making time frames are impressive. Their timely support in funding planning, internet infrastructure, and development capacity parameters continue to be invaluable to enhancing community engagement and thoughtful, effective, actions for charting the future of the island.”

Hornby Island is a small community of just over 1250 year-round residents, which easily quadruples in size during the summer months. Previous studies and consultations, including community engagement exercises, have identified key areas of opportunity or improvement, including digital infrastructure, short and long-term workforce housing, additional support for businesses and the arts sector, affordability and transportation, green energy, and food and water security and accountability.

“The team at WCG is excited to assist HICEEC in developing their Economic Development Strategy, building upon previous efforts by them and the Hornby Island community to create a clear, defined path forward on major priorities affecting the local economy such as housing, tourism, and infrastructure in the wake of the pandemic,” says Ross Birchall, Managing Partner Wellesley Consulting Group. “We thank Island Coastal Economic Trust for their support in making such important work possible for smaller communities and Gulf Islands that are traditionally underserved in these areas, and we look forward to working with them and engaging the community in robust discussions surrounding all aspects of the local economy.”

As part of the project, a new board committee will be created to provide oversight of the strategic process. Preliminary engagements with a working group will be carried out, alongside a review and compilation of existing data. The strategy will exist as a living document that can be revisited, reviewed, and revised as needed.

“We are very pleased to partner with Hornby Island once more on this key strategic document,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “It is always exciting to see how these processes bring to light key economic priorities that align with a community’s vision and support their well-being. We are grateful to be a part.”

“Hornby Island residents have created an incredible community with a rich culture and growing economic opportunities year-round,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid-Island – Pacific Rim. “This funding from the Trust will support Hornby Islanders to continue to develop and grow their economy with a strategy tailor-made for them.”

As part of the community consultation process, two events (including Zoom sessions) will be held on September 26th and October 2nd. For more information, please view their registration page online.

The Hornby Island Economic Development Strategy is supported through the Investment Readiness Program. The Trust will contribute $15,000 to a total project budget of $30,000. The project will be underway imminently.


About Island Coastal Economic Trust

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.

Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $59 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $323 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2, 910 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.

Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.

Media Contacts

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Karen Ross
Economic Enhancement Officer
Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation (HICEEC)