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News Release

November 30, 2007

Rural Communities and Organizations Helped to be Self-sustaining

Tofield – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced funding today of $2.678 million to sponsor four new projects. The funding will give a number of rural community programs the opportunity to be self-sustaining. If successful, the projects will result in an improved quality of life for many rural Albertans.

The Community Village project in Grande Prairie brings together many Peace Country non-profit organizations and social businesses so they can better coordinate, reach and serve aboriginal people, the homeless, the disadvantaged, youth at risk and those at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Funding support for a new student program for females in Warner will enable the hockey school there to become self-sufficient.

RADF’s support will enable a Junior Achievement program to be delivered in 12 rural communities across the province. In addition to staff and resources, the funding will create Rural Leadership Councils and train volunteers in various communities. The Edmonton Area Countryside project will help rural tourism and agri-businesses to be market-ready and draw more urban consumers to rural destinations.

“These projects take promising concepts to the next level and give them a very good chance to survive on their own. These initiatives fit very well with our mandate,” commented Bob Clark, RADF co-chair.

“Government’s investment in the RADF is to create projects that stimulate economic growth and address rural challenges and opportunities,” said Iris Evans, Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry. “These projects do exactly that, and will help ensure future growth and prosperity in 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
Cell: 780-953-0525

Summary of Approved Projects

For Release November 30, 2007

Fund contribution is $333,000

This project by the Community Village Society of the Peace Country (CVS) will bring together Peace Country non-profit organizations and social businesses to better coordinate, reach and serve aboriginal people, the homeless, the disadvantaged, youth at risk and those at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The Community Village will occupy more than 21,000 square feet of space (formerly the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church) in Grande Prairie. Six agencies have committed to be tenants while another five agencies are expected to sign up soon.

Partner agencies involved in the Community Village concept include HIV North Society, Grande Prairie Family and Community Social Services, Peace Country Health, Gay and Lesbian Association of the Peace, Habitat for Humanity, Lesser Slave Lake Regional Indian Council, and the African Caribbean Society.

Expected results include:

  • Those in need are better able to use the services provided by participating agencies.
  • Referrals between agencies are more streamlined.
  • Programming and service delivery are enhanced.
  • The quality of life for clients is improved.
  • Community at large values the Community Village’s work.

Contact: Tanya Rutledge, Chair, CVS.
T: 780.513.1990.

Fund contribution is $534,000

This project will enable the hockey school in Warner to become self-sustaining. A new student program will be created that features off-ice training and special treatment services like massage and physiotherapy. These services will be made available to the surrounding community.
The Warner Hockey School combines education and hockey to give elite, young, female players the opportunity to focus on their passion while completing high school. Existing enrolment includes students from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Expected results include:

  • More than double the number of existing female students (23) in residence.
  • Increased and stabilized Warner School enrolment, particularly for Grades 10-12.
  • A self-sustaining hockey school program.
  • Increased economic activity in Warner and surrounding area.
  • New job opportunities, particularly in athletics and education.

Contact: Gordon Noland, Advisor, Warner Community Hockey Society.
T: 403.250.1992.

Ken Purvis, Director, Warner Hockey School.
T: 403.701.6499


Fund contribution is $580,000

RADF’s support of this project will result in the very successful Junior Achievement program in Alberta being delivered in 12 rural communities across the province. In addition to staff and resources, the funding will create Rural Leadership Councils and recruit and train volunteers. Participating communities identified at this time include Hinton, Lloydminster, Grande Prairie, St. Paul, Cochrane, High River, Drumheller and Strathmore. A partner in the project is the Community Futures Development Corporation.

Each year, Junior Achievement in Alberta provides training in personal finance, business, entrepreneurship and career development to about 30,000 students in grades 3-12, mainly in Calgary and Edmonton.

Expected results of moving into rural Alberta include:

  • In three years, 640 business and entrepreneurship classes delivered to 15,000 students in 12 rural communities.
  • Training and recruitment of more than 1,100 business and community volunteers to deliver Junior Achievement programs.
  • New pragmatic, educational opportunities for rural youth.
  • Some participants of Junior Achievement classes start or continue rural businesses.

Contact: Scott Hillier, Chief Operating Officer, Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta.
T: 403.237.5252

Fund contribution is $1.231 million

This project will give the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group (ERTG) the ability to support and promote small rural tourism and agri-businesses. Examples of such businesses include bed & breakfasts, U-picks, farm tours and cultural/historic venues. RADF’s support will create the staff, material and training resources needed to help rural operators be market-ready and able to draw more urban consumers to rural destinations. Most of ERTG’s work is currently being done by volunteers.

Collaboration with rural associations such as Kalyna Country, Alberta Agricultural Societies, Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association and the French Economic Chamber of Alberta will occur through the course of the project. ERTG has 36 members composed of public and private small rural tourism and agri-business operators and is affiliated with the Alberta Capital Region Alliance.

Expected results include:

  • Economic growth and increased community capacity to be self-sufficient.
  • Sustainable agri-tourism and agri-business sector in the rural region surrounding Edmonton.
  • More urban consumer spending on rural tourism and rural agri-goods.
  • More rural operators who have the business and managerial skills needed to be successful.
  • More diversified agricultural sector
  • More rural tourism operators

Contact: Erica Thomas, Chair, ERTG.
T: 780.464.8259

Tam Andersen, Operator Representative, ERTG.
T: 780.921.2272