APRIL 29, 2001, TOFINO – Communities on northern Vancouver Island will benefit from a $1.1-million provincial contribution to Ecotrust Canada, which is establishing a $4-million Vancouver Island green enterprise loan fund. The announcement was made today by Jenny Kwan, minister of community development, cooperatives and volunteers, and Alberni MLA Gerard Janssen.

"This level of financial support shows the province’s commitment to this region and the importance placed on sustainable conservation-based enterprises," said Kwan.

Presentation of cheque to Ecotrust Canada
Left – Right: Minister Kwan, Ian Gill, and Gerard Janssen

"They play a vital role in strengthening and diversifying the economies of coastal and resource-based communities."

Ecotrust Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a diversified economy along British Columbia’s rainforest coast in partnership with Shorebank Enterprise Pacific, a Canadian- and U.S.-registered non-profit corporation. Ecotrust Canada works in both urban and rural areas to support entrepreneurs whose work improves environmental, economic, and social conditions.

"This funding is part of the province’s commitment to northern Vancouver Island made at the 1999 premier’s summit," said Janssen. "Small businesses using the green enterprise loan fund will boost local economies."

"This funding will support viable North Island businesses and create 200 long-term jobs over the next four years," said Ian Gill, president of Ecotrust Canada.

The Vancouver Island green enterprise loan fund is an integral part of the government’s Green Economy Initiative, which was created to help B.C. businesses compete in today’s greener global marketplace. The program supports B.C. communities in their transition toward a more sustainable economy and a cleaner environment.

The provincial investment will enable the expansion of existing Ecotrust operations in Clayoquot Sound to other communities on the Island. A total of $6 million will be loaned to 50 small businesses launching or expanding conservation-based green enterprises over four years. Funds will be used for credit, marketing and technical assistance to businesses on northern Vancouver Island. Ecotrust Canada and the ministry will work closely with communities on the north Island to address their communities’ needs.