Revelstoke is one step closer to becoming the technology and innovation capital of the interior.
On Tuesday the City received confirmation that a $108,000 grant it applied for from the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund was successful.
The grant will fund 60 per cent of the first phase of the development of a technology fabrication lab.
Technology fabrication labs provide designers and entrepreneurs with a space to work with 3D printers, scanners, laser cutters, and other high-tech tools.
The total proposed budget for the first phase of the project is $180,000.
Pending council approval on Tuesday, March 27, the City will begin to seek external funds to cover the remaining $72,000 required to complete the project.
“We’re not all the way there, but we’re going to continue to work on it,” said Director of Community Economic Development Nicole Fricot.
Fricot said the project has been well supported by members of the local business community and well received by the municipal government.
According to a report submitted by Fricot to City Council on Jan 22, the City identified entrepreneurship as central to the economic development of the City of Revelstoke in its Community Economic Develop Plan for 2017 to 2020.
As a result, for at least the last four months City Staff have been engaged in conversation with Community Futures, the Revelstoke Mountain Colab Cooperative, (a co-working space for professionals in the tech. sector) the Chamber of Commerce and other members of the business community to develop a start-up strategy.
The start up strategy was endorsed by City Council in Dec. 2017.
Members of the start-up committee identified a fabrication laboratory as a key element for the implementation of the start up strategy.
While the report submitted to Council on Jan 22. identifies the lab is primarily intended for use by entrepreneurs and designers, it will also be a place where youth can go to learn about things like 3D printing and technology.
Fricot said the City’s Tech Strategy Coordinator is currently looking into the Tech Club offered in the City of Nelson by the Nelson and District Youth Centre.
Jean Marc LaFlamme, the Startup Revelstoke Community Leader, said the idea is for the space to be intergenerational.
“Working with youth recently in the schools the fab lab has generated a lot of interest,” said LaFlamme. “It’s an important way to get kids into another environment where there is all sorts of gadgetry and equipment and they see they can do these things.”
The successful grant application was submitted to the Rural Dividend Fund’s fourth intake that closed on Dec. 15.
The government announced on Tuesday it is providing a total of $1,424,303 for nine projects in the “Kootenays” as part of the Rural Dividend grants.
The Rural Dividend Fund provides $25 million a year to communities with populations under 25,000 to help diversify their economies.
As part of its 2018 Budget, the BCNDP committed to extending the Rural Dividend Fund to 2020-21.
Local governments, first nations, and not for profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding.