The Alberni Valley Hospice Society became the latest organization to benefit from the facade improvement grant program jointly operated by Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot and the City of Port Alberni.
Lori Camire from Community Futures and Alberni mayor Sharie Minions joined Teresa Ludvigson, Theresa Maxmenko and Jennifer Collette from the hospice society to present a cheque for $7,500 that will help pay expenses from a $200,000 renovation of the hospice society’s new office building on 10th Avenue. The building opened in early August in a space formerly occupied by a school.
The facade improvement program has been successful since it kicked off in 2016, Minions said. That first year the city contributed $50,000 and Community Futures $100,000. They saw $600,000 in improvements from applicants, she added.
The minimum cost of a renovation that would qualify for a business facade improvement plan is $5,000; the city and Community Futures will pay 50 percent up to certain thresholds.
”We’ve placed $488,000 with this program alone,“ says Camire, executive director at Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot.
The first year there were 29 applicants and 17 projects completed, Camire said. In 2017, there were 23 applications; “20 were approved.”
Only five applications were submitted in 2018.
”This current year we’ve had 12 applications. There are some nice renovations happening.”
Most of the work has been done by Port Alberni-based businesses too, Camire added.
That’s something Ludvigson is proud of when it comes to the hospice society’s new offices.
”We’re very proud to say it was 100 per cent Port Alberni trades professionals that worked on our building.”
Minions said the facade improvement program is Valley wide and was created as a result of the former tax improvement plan for South Port. That plan gave tax breaks to companies that spent more than $100,000 in renovations and improvements. The current plan is a grant program.
More information can be found at www.portalberni.ca and searching 2019 business facade improvement program.