On Wednesday, I introduced private member’s Bill M218, the North-Island Coast Development Initiative Trust Amendment Act.
If passed, this Bill would get rid of the $60-million cap on funding for development trusts, and allow the government to provide the North Island Coast Development Initiative Trust the $150 million it needs to keep operating.
I move that a bill entitled North-Island Coast Development Initiative Trust Amendment Act of which notice has been given in my name on the order paper be introduced and read a first time now.
The Island Coastal Economic Trust, or ICE-T, is a critical economic development organization led by communities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Inexplicably, this valued organization is on the brink, as they have fully invested their funds to impactful economic development initiatives for 17 years. Now all the funds are almost gone, and the trust needs to be recapitalized.
Coastal communities formalized their vision for actionable reconciliation with the transformation of the trust as a permanent ESG-focused inclusive regional development organization that is co-governed by First Nations and local governments.
The business plan to realize co-governance and a sustainable model for the trust requires a generational $150 million investment. The business plan submitted to government last September ensures that the trust will be a catalyst for more than $1 billion in total investment.
This bill removes the $60 million cap that is currently limiting the B.C. NDP from turning the ICET into a permanent fund. This bill does not spend money. It simply removes the limited cap on how much can be capitalized.
In March 2020, Judith Sayers, Sarah Morales, Frank Leonard and Wayne Rowe completed the statutory requirement to review the act. They made a variety of recommendations, including this initiative for the provincial government to remove this cap.
Surprise. The B.C. NDP has not done this and has essentially abandoned the communities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast communities that many of them represent.
How are we on the brink of losing this valued regional organization? Rather than solidifying the organization, today a $10 million lifeline was announced simply to delay the ICET’s demise, kicking it down the road two or three more years.
This amendment removes the obstacle and allows this government to do the right thing and recapitalize this important community-led economic development vehicle.
The question is first reading of the bill.
I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill M218, North-Island Coast Development Initiative Trust Amendment Act, 2023, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.