Small programs can make a big difference

At the 100 Mile Free Press, we’re currently working on completing this year’s official South Cariboo Visitor’s Guide.

For the purposes of tourism have a nice looking town is undoubtedly important. Furthermore, according to the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s recent State of the North report it’s an industry that’s growing.

This week the District of 100 Mile House was pleased to announce that they had once again been approved for the Business Façade Improvement Program, in the form of $20,000 from the NDIT.

Through the program, businesses can apply to the district and The District of 100 Mile House will provide a 50 per cent reimbursement grant up to a maximum of $5,000 per eligible building.

They’re absolutely right to be pleased. If nothing else, it’s a good thing that 100 Mile is getting a piece of the pie.

When it comes to the amount of taxes collected annually, $20,000 is an absolutely minuscule amount.

For comparison, the Cariboo Regional District is looking at a recently proposed budget just short of $50 million (note that the NDIT and CRD are different entities but it’s a good way to get a sense of the scale of things).

Furthermore, $5,000 both is and isn’t a lot of money. For a lot of people, $5,000 is a lot of money to be granted (I’m sure a lot of readers would more than welcome $5,000 towards fixing up their home). However, when you think of what a façade can look like (think of the renovations at the Cariboo Mall) it’s a relatively small sum (and no Cariboo Mall wasn’t part of the program last year).

There are plenty of towns, both in B.C. and across Canada, that are anything but attractive. 100 Mile House is not one of those towns. Birch Avenue, for example, is really quite a nice street with flowers, banners, markets and more in the summer. It would definitely be a pity if it was littered with eyesores on the business side, especially when tourism is an important local driver.

In terms of the grand scheme of things, it’s really quite a minor item. Some might not even consider it particularly newsworthy. But if it motivates a few businesses every year to make sure they look their best, it’s exactly the kind of thing that can make a big difference.

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