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News Release

July 17, 2008

Programs Get $8 Million in Funding

Rural Alberta’s Arts, Education, Technology and Manpower Sectors Get Boost

Tofield – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced funding today of $8.1 million for four new rural Alberta projects. The funding will improve the quality of life for many rural Albertans and help two rural organizations bring new opportunities to their regions.

The largest contribution - $5 million - went to the Alberta Rural Development Network. This project is a partnership between 21 post-secondary institutions. RADF’s investment will enable network members - for the first time – to easily access and share a huge pool of information and knowledge. An investment of $1.5 million in the Vulcan Innovation Project will help the Vulcan Business Development Society fully develop a number of advanced technology projects in the region as well as the skills needed to sustain these innovative projects.

RADF’s $255,000 investment in the Communities Leading Regional Recruitment & Retention project will help the Cold Lake Chamber of Commerce and its partners to attract highly skilled professionals to the region. A $1.43 million funding contribution from RADF means the Empress Theatre Society will be able to launch its Rural Artistic Initiatives project. The project will expand the array and reach of arts and culture programs for communities in southern Alberta.

“We feel these projects are great examples of how innovation and passion are improving the quality of life in rural Alberta,” commented Bob Clark, RADF Chair.

“Rural development is not just about agriculture - it’s about creating a vibrant and sustainable Alberta for everybody,” said George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “This fund continues to play a vital role in ensuring the ongoing strength of Alberta’s rural communities.”

Rural Alberta’s Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. It is funded by the Government of Alberta and is a key implementation initiative of Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy. More information is available at www.ruralalbertasfund.com

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Direct media enquiries to:
Godfrey Huybregts, Director of Communications, Rural Alberta’s Development Fund
T: 1.877.940.7233 C: 780.953.0525



Summary of Approved Projects

July 17, 2008

Fund contribution is $5.0 million

RADF funding will allow the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) to develop new promotional strategies, improve communication between its members and enhance information access. For the first time, network members will have full access to data, information, knowledge and wisdom held by all members of ARDN.

ARDN is a partnership between 21 post-secondary institutions across Alberta. Virtual network access will streamline collaboration on shared projects and is expected to increase project collaboration opportunities.

Expected results include:

  • Increased collaboration between Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.
  • Increased access to a common pool of knowledge for rural communities and institutions across Alberta.
  • Virtual access to post secondary programs for rural Albertans

Contact: Rick Neidig, President, Northern Lakes Colleges and Co-Chair of ARDN.
T: 780.751.3260


Fund contribution is $1.45 million

Funding provided to the Vulcan Business Development Society will allow them to develop several home grown technology projects, including a virtual rural college and ‘Green’ energy projects. This three year project will focus on developing skills and technologies through workshops, training sessions and peer support.

The Vulcan Business Development Society Board is composed of the Town of Vulcan, Vulcan County, and the Villages of Lomond, Milo, Arrowwood, Carmangay and Champion. Partners in this project include the Vulcan and District Waste Commission, Palliser School Division, Lethbridge College and Digital Alberta, along with support from various other organizations and businesses in the Vulcan area.

Expected results include:

  • Increased access to technology and skills training for local business, organizations and individuals.
  • New delivery options for skills and trades training
  • Retention and attraction of youth by offering more high quality employment.
  • Creation of new jobs in the technology sector.
  • The development of ‘home grown’ technology projects that can be easily adapted by other rural Alberta communities

Contact: Leslie Warren, Economic Development Officer, Vulcan Business Development Society
T: 403.485.4100


Fund contribution is $255,000.00

Funds from RADF will enable the Cold Lake region to develop a unique recruitment and retention model that may become a template for other rural communities to follow. Called Communities Leading Regional Recruitment & Retention, the project aims to recruit and retain more highly skilled professionals to northeast Alberta. The program will develop specialized resources, communications and promotional tools aimed at attracting highly skilled professionals to the region.

The initiative is lead by the Cold Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce but involves 23 various partners including local municipalities, businesses, industry, associations, provincial and federal agencies, and individuals in the Cold Lake region.

Expected results include:

  • More doctors, skilled health care workers and other skilled professionals in northeast Alberta
  • Creation of a multi-community coalition to support recruited professionals and their families
  • Once established, other regions of Alberta will be able to adapt this service

Contact: Russ Robertson, Co-Chair, Communities Leading Regional Recruitment & Retention Coalition
T: 780.594.4747


Fund contribution is $1.43 million

RADF funding will allow the Empress Theatre Society to grow the Windy Mountain Music Festival to include training for rural based classical musicians, tours to other rural Alberta communities and off-season residencies with artistic partners across Alberta. Funding also allows the Society to develop a system for restoring and screening historical films, to develop a world music series and to modernize their booking, promotional and ticket sales systems.

The Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod is Alberta’s oldest theatre. The 96 year-old venue is owned by the Town of Fort Macleod and currently hosts an annual film festival, annual music festival, live music and theatre and daily first run movies.

Expected results include:

  • An expansion of the arts community in southern Alberta.
  • Increased interest from both artists and patrons.
  • New technologies put in place for artist booking, information and ticket sales.

Contact: Gerard Gibbs, Executive Director Empress Theatre Society
T: 403.553.4404 ext 202