Small business response and recovery program
Community Futures Sun Country is offering a BC Wildfire response and recovery program to help support small businesses within its regional service area that were impacted by this year’s wildfires. The new loan package provides loans of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses, with the loan at prime plus 2 per cent and a four-year amortization period. There are also no payment requirements for up to eight months.
Eligible applicants are any business (including for profit and enterprising not-for-profit organizations, sole proprietorships, partnerships, incorporated companies, ranches, farms, and co-ops with 50 or fewer employees) that was in operation when the emergency commenced; has a valid business licence; and has not been able to operate (or has operated at a reduced level) for more than five days due to the wildfire situation.
For more information visit the Community Futures Sun Country office at 203 Railway Avenue in Ashcroft, or call (250) 453-9165 (toll free 1-800-567-9911).
Reduced advertising rate in visitor guide
Gold Country Communities Society realizes that many businesses and organizations in the region are experiencing very challenging times because of the wildfires that have devastated our region, and that finances and marketing budgets are strained.
As a reflection of this, they are offering a 25 per cent discount in their advertising rates in their 2018/2019 Official Visitor Guide. All Gold Country stakeholders are entitled to the discount on all listed ad prices.
SD74 to consider emergency response policy
In light of the recent wildfires, the Board of Trustees of School District No. 74 (Gold Country) has recommended that the policy committee consider developing an emergency response policy. This will be added to the next policy committee meeting in October for further discussion.
The board also acknowledged the impact of this summer’s wildfires on families, staff, and communities, and expressed its appreciation for the efforts of district staff in running buses to support community evacuations, supporting the fire camp at Cache Creek Elementary School, and performing summer project work during the challenges of road closures and Evacuation Orders.
Funding for tourism organizations
The Province is providing the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association with financial support of $200,000 each to help with tourism-related impacts from the B.C. wildfires. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Destination BC; and the regional tourism associations will work closely together to ensure the funding is used to support the tourism recovery needs in the affected regions.
Working in close collaboration with the regional destination marketing organizations, Destination BC has developed and is implementing a provincial marketing plan to help B.C.’s tourism industry recover from the impacts of the wildfires. Over the last few months, Destination BC has kept travellers informed about the areas that were affected by the wildfires, while ensuring tourists knew that most areas of B.C. remained open for business.
“Now it is time to start working toward the future and have a conversation about how we can recover from some of the devastating losses that have impacted our industry as a result of the wildfire situation,” says TOTA president and CEO Glenn Mandziuk. “We will be working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture and Destination BC to assess the needs of those affected and how we can best support them in the days ahead.”
Tourism is a major economic driver in B.C., employing 127,000 people throughout the province, supporting nearly 19,000 tourism-related businesses, and contributing $7.4 billion toward the Province’s gross domestic product. In 2015, the B.C. tourism industry generated $15.7 billion in revenue, a 5.3 per cent increase over 2014, and a 37.3 per cent increase from 2005.
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is offering several emergency tax relief measures to those affected by the wildfires. It will cease all collections, audit-related activities, and administrative correspondence for those impacted until further notice, and will cancel penalties and/or interest for those impacted who are delayed in filing their tax returns or paying amounts owing because of the fires.
Designated telephone agents have been assigned for those impacted, to provide assistance to callers affected by the wildfires. Agents can request taxpayer relief on behalf of those needing it, and also provide advice relating to lost, destroyed, or damaged records. Individuals can contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281, while businesses can call 1-800-959-5525.