Whitewater Township applying for three provinical grants

Cobden -- Whitewater Region will be submitting applications for three provincial grants: a Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Grant, a Seniors Community Grant, and an Inclusive Communities Grant.

The township is again partnering with Greater Madawaska (GM) Township as it did in 2022, to apply for the RED program, which supports activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and opens doors to rural economic development.

Last year the program provided funding for the preparation of a business marketing and promotional campaign to support existing businesses and encourage growth and development. As a result, the townships completed growth readiness strategies which recommended the implementation of a marketing plan to communicate the attributes and the services of the township and local businesses, establish distribution channels to get the information to investors, entrepreneurs and employment channels, and update existing campaign initiatives including brochures, profiles and other tools.

A $60,000 program is proposed, of which Whitewater and GM Townships will each contribute $15,000 and the grant makes up the remaining $30,000.

The Seniors Community Grant will support projects to provide older adults with the opportunity to connect, contribute, learn and lead active lives by living independently with safety and security, staying connected to their community and avoiding isolation, and achieving greater financial security and social connections. The grant supports up to 100 percent of the total eligible project costs to a maximum of $25,000. Whitewater Region has been successful in obtaining this grant in the last two years to support its Seniors Active Living and Home Support pilot project.

Whitewater is currently in the process of transitioning the Senior Active Living and Home Support pilot program from full-time to part-time due to a shortage of funding. However, township representatives met recently with minister of Seniors and Accessibility, who encouraged the township to file an application in support of the pilot program.

The Inclusive Communities Grant has not yet been announced but is expected to become available in the coming months. This program provides municipalities with up to $60,000 to help older residents and people with disabilities participate in community life. The 2022 funding prioritized projects that support under-served communities and addressed COVID-19- related challenges. In 2022, Whitewater obtained a grant for the full amount to support its Seniors Pilot Program.

Whitewater CAO Ivan Burton explained that to avoid the preparation of another report to council if and when this funding becomes available, municipal staff included this grant in its request for approval at its February 15 meeting. At such time the township will file an application to further support the Seniors Active Living and Home Support. If funds are secured, the most feasible use of the funds -- for example, returning to full-time or providing additional services and support -- will be determined.

Council approved all three requests. The deadline for submitting applications for these grants is February 28.

Marie Zettler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader