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News Release

March 6, 2009

RADF Announces $2.1 Million for Two Rural Projects

Projects Focus on Tourism Development and Economic Diversification

Tofield – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced funding today of $2.1 million for two new rural Alberta projects. The funding will help northern rural communities promote regional tourism and address the economic impact of the mountain pine beetle.

Funding of $1.575 million from RADF will allow Grimshaw based GeoTourism Canada to develop, market and promote tourism in Alberta’s north. This includes facilitating partnerships between northern tourism businesses and local governments and the creation of online field guides for self-guided tours.

An investment of $562,500 in the Grande Alberta Economic Region (GAER) will allow this organization to develop regional plans for economic diversification in response to losses suffered due to the incursion of the mountain pine beetle.

“We are pleased to be supporting these projects as we believe they will stimulate economic growth opportunities in rural Alberta,” commented Bob Clark, RADF Chair.

“I am pleased to see these initiatives help support rural growth by promoting regional tourism,” said Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister George Groeneveld. “The Government of Alberta remains committed to advancing social and economic development in rural Alberta, and this provides another way of addressing the economic impact of the mountain pine beetle.”

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.comUH

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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

 

BACKGROUNDER

Summary of Approved Projects

March 6, 2009

NORTHERN ALBERTA GEOTOURISM
Fund contribution is $1.575 million

Funding from RADF will allow Grimshaw based GeoTourism Canada to create a unique, cost-effective and self-sustaining marketing program that will attract tourism dollars to Alberta’s north. This program will also develop partnerships between the region’s tourism businesses and local governments.

The GeoTourism program will highlight 800 tourist destinations in the north such as museums, forts and trading posts, ghost towns, historical churches, community landmarks and aboriginal sites. Visitors will be able to explore the region at their own pace with the help of online field guides and GPS devices.

GeoTourism Canada’s partners in this project include the Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Peace Region Economic Development Alliance, Grande Prairie Regional College, Elks Lodges as well as six regional tourism authorities and several local organizations.

Expected results include:

  • Increased tourism spending in Alberta’s north
  • Exposure of previously overlooked tourism opportunities in Alberta
  • Development of a GeoTourism program that can be adapted by other regions in the province

Contact: Jim Layher, Director, GeoTourism Canada.
T: 780.539.1346
jim@geotourismcanada.com
www.geotourismcanada.com

MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE RESPONSE
Fund contribution is $562,500

RADF funding will help Grande Alberta Economic Region (GAER) develop action plans, relationships and strategies for economic diversification in response to the effects of the mountain pine beetle. As part of the program GAER will develop an informational website, educational materials and will conduct community outreach sessions across the region.

GAER members will work together to explore possibilities, increase opportunities, respond to and find solutions for regional issues that impact its businesses and communities.

The GAER in west-central Alberta is a partnership of 12 communities and one associate member – Jasper National Park. The region extends from Onoway in the east to Jasper in the west and includes Brazeau County, Drayton Valley, Yellowhead County, Edson, Hinton, Grande Cache, Fox Creek, Mayerthorpe, Whitecourt and Woodlands Country.

Expected results include:

  • Increased economic diversification in the region
  • Increased regional employment
  • Establishment of multiple partnerships between communities and industries

Contact: Tammy Powell, Manager, Grande Alberta Economic Region.
T: 780.723.7706
tammy.powell@gov.ab.ca
www.grandealberta.com