Council is looking to the business community in Hinton on how to best spend the remaining COVID-19 resiliency support program funds.
Council came to the conclusion to put an end to the program after seeing no further uptake from local businesses since September. Instead they are looking into alternative options to use the funds based on feedback from Hinton’s business community.
The program provided grants of $750 per business of specific criteria and since early April, only eight were approved through Community Futures West Yellowhead (CFWY).
Scott Kovatch, Hinton’s economic development officer, noted that the grant amount was too low for most businesses to apply for and an increase to the grant could garner better results. Kovatch worked with CFWY to provide other changes and recommendations for council.
He said increasing the grant amount and implementing a deadline to apply would improve demand.
Coun. Albert Ostashek noted that council could make the changes to allow the program to go on while looking into other options for the funds and revisiting the program in February.
Several councillors stated that increasing the grant to $1,500 wouldn’t make a difference for many businesses and that there are better ways to spend the funds that would impact more businesses.
Coun. Brian Laberge suggested focusing the funds to impact the entire business community instead of a select few.
Mayor Marcel Michaels agreed that the funds would be better directed at helping every business through projects like a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).
The Town of Hinton will reach out to the business community and the Chamber of Commerce to get a better idea of how these funds could be used to help them.
Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice