New Fund to Enhance Regional Passenger Transportation Launches Today

Pacific Rim Highway 4 connects communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island. © Destination BC Yuri Choufour

Fund will strengthen governance, collaboration, and broaden regional partnerships

COURTENAY, 17 October 2023 – Island Coastal Economic Trust (the Trust) and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) are pleased to announce today the launch of a new one-time fund that will invest in projects that would enable people to have improved passenger transportation options between coastal communities. The fund is administered by MNP LLP on behalf of the Trust and VIEA.

The Community Passenger Transportation Fund is launching following public engagement sessions held across Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast in the summer 2023. The discussions, priorities, and solutions arising from these sessions are captured in the Island Coastal Intercommunity Transportation “What We Heard Report” (download the report – 5MB PDF) that was published in August 2023.

The Fund is capitalized with $230,000 from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and will fund projects between $5,000 and $20,000. The specific objectives of the Fund are to:

  • Strengthen passenger transportation governance and collaboration;
  • Broaden regional partnerships on inter-community passenger transportation;
  • Expand or enhance inter-community passenger transportation services, especially in rural and remote communities; and
  • Create and/or expand innovative and non-traditional passenger transportation opportunities (e.g., car sharing, ride hailing etc.).

The Fund will invest in projects that focus on one or more of the key themes highlighted in the summer 2023 engagement sessions and the resulting What We Heard Report:

  • Strengthened Public Transportation Governance and Collaboration
    Proposals that provide for positive change in the way that inter-community passenger transportation is governed. This could include improvements to existing, or the establishment of new policies and/or plans that set the direction for inter-community passenger transportation within a region or community. Specifically, the policies and/or plans would be prepared collaboratively with stakeholders and rightsholders, including service providers, and administered by local governments and/or First Nations.
  • Broader Partnerships on Inter-Community Passenger Transportation
    Proposals that support regional partnerships to coordinate on, or provide shared capacity and capabilities to offer, inter-community passenger transportation, especially for rural and remote communities (including Island communities).
  • Expand or Enhanced Inter-Community Passenger Transportation Services Proposals on projects that extend the frequency, geographic scope, and/or hours of public inter-community transportation services, which can be regionally based, community-led or through a public-private partnership.
  • Innovative and Non-Traditional Passenger Transportation
    Projects that support the expansion and improvement of innovative and non-traditional inter-community passenger transportation corridors and hubs.

For more information and to apply, please visit Island Coastal Economic Trust’s webpage for the Community Passenger Transportation Fund.

“Our community engagement sessions across Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast this summer were eye-opening in terms of the gaps in our region’s passenger transportation systems, and yet uplifting to hear from leaders and changemakers who are creating local solutions,” says Brodie Guy, CEO, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “Partnering with Vancouver Island Economic Alliance and MNP is exciting and we’re looking forward to investing in locally-led initiatives and people-centred solutions through this new Fund.”

“The transportation study had great engagement and the community needs were clearly indicated in the report released in August,” says Julie Sperber, President and CEO, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. “The fund will offer direct support to groups working within their area to address transportation challenges and that feels incredibly positive. VIEA is grateful to be a part of this process and the forward steps to advance regional transportation options and connections.”

“As someone who grew up on the Island and has lived here most of my life, I know how much we all rely on our transportation system,” says James Byrne, Regional Managing Partner, Vancouver Island, MNP LLP. “Whether for work, healthcare, leisure, or simply being close to our families, the ability to move in and around our communities is essential. Mobility is also vitally important for our economy, driving sectors like tourism, education, and shipping. When we don’t have effective transportation options in place that are safe, reliable, and easy to use, it impacts all of us. That’s why I’m excited that MNP is able to support the Community Passenger Transportation Fund. It’s an important step toward making our communities more connected and accessible for everyone who lives here.”


Island Coastal Economic Trust
Island Coastal Economic Trust (the 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, the Trust partners 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.

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance
Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) is a registered non-government, non-profit society spearheading regional economic development for the entire Vancouver Island and rural islands region. The society is funded by memberships, sponsorships, and gate receipts from events.

National in scope and local in focus, MNP is one of Canada’s leading professional services firms — proudly serving individuals, businesses, and organizations since 1958. Through the development of strong relationships, we provide client-focused accounting, consulting, tax, and digital services. Our clients benefit from personalized strategies with a local perspective to fuel success wherever business takes them. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Julie Sperber 
President and CEO
Vancouver Island Economic Alliance