The Columbia Cultural Tourism Association (CCTA) is a step closer to achieving its bigger picture funding goals, after receiving discretionary grant-in-aid money from both the Regional District of East Kootenay Area F and Area G.
Area F gave $2000 and Area G gave $750 to the CCTA to help the organization implement its tourism strategy.
“It’s much appreciated because it helps us close the gap on the the bigger picture of funding. Every little bit helps,” said CFTA chair Pat Bavin, adding that in order to keep $37,000 worth of conditional funding from the Columbia Valley Directed Fund committee the CCTA needs to raise an additional $20,000 by the end of January, and with the Area F and Area G discretionary grant-in-aid money, now has raised about $10,000 of that $20,000.
The directed funds committee agreed to give the $37,000 to the CCTA with the condition that the organization needed to raise $20,000 on its own. The original deadline was this past summer, but the directed funds committee then extended the deadline to the end of January 2015.
The CCTA plans, if it raises another $10,000 and consequently gets to keep the $37,000, to use the money to fire a full time co-ordinator, who would be able to get the CCTA’s programs up and running.
“That would really get the whole thing going,” said Bavin, adding everybody currently involved with the organization is a volunteer and simply doesn’t have the same time to kick-start the CCTA’s on-the-ground programs that a full-time staff member would.
“We’ve made some great headway provincially and nationally, working with Destinations B.C. and Kootenay Rockies Tourism. There’s a lot going on, but if we could just get off the ground with our local programs, we’d really be able to take off. We just have to keep pushing and keep our fingers crossed,” said Bavin.
According to Area F director Wendy Booth and Area G director Gerry Wilkie, the discretionary grant-in-aid money is well spent on the CCTA.
“I am pleased (for Area G) to contribute to the CCTA’s ongoing planning work in promoting and celebrating our rich history, culture and enterprises. Over time this cultural tourism initiative will provide lasting socio-economic benefits throughout the region,” said Wilkie.
“The CCTA has been working hard in creating its ‘A Tapestry of Place’ document, that is a strategy for place-based cultural tourism in the Columbia Valley. The $2000 from Area F will help them act on some of the recommendations in the report,” said Booth.
Although the roughly 70 days left for the CCTA to raise the additional $10,000 may seem like a daunting deadline, Bavin is optimistic it can be meet, with the CCTA currently looking at the possibility of a private investment partner as an option to bring in the extra money.