CFRC Storyline: $1 million in new funding to KEDCO for Kingston & Gananoque Tourism

KINGSTON and GANANOQUE – There is new support for businesses and non-profit organizations in both Kingston and Gananoque.  The federal government is providing $1 million in new funding to Kingston Economic Development Corporation, to support Kingston and Gananoque tourism businesses.

The new money offers tourism businesses with five or fewer employees a maximum grant of $2,400 and businesses with more than five employees a maximum grant of $4,800.

The funds are designed to help businesses recoup some of the expenses related to reopening during the pandemic. To qualify for the grant, businesses must contribute a minimum of 20 per cent of the costs for the projects receiving the funds.

"We are grateful for the critical support during these unprecedented times. This grant will provide tremendous support for those who are struggling to remain open," said Gananoque Mayor Ted Lojko.

The government expects the program to help about 100 businesses and save at least 200 jobs in the sector.

"Gananoque's businesses have been hit hard due to the decline in the tourism industry. If all businesses applied and had five employees or more then you would have approximately 40 businesses that could be funded within Gananoque," added Lojko.

This is a new federal program, and unlike the municipal grants that were rolled out through a COVID-CIP program, it does not exclude non-profit organizations. That means the groups such as the Curling Club of Gananoque will be able to apply for funding.

"I just looked very quickly, and yes we will be applying as we have lost a great deal with tourism as well," said Jayne Curtis, Gananoque Curling Club manager.

The funds are part of the Federal Economic Development Agency's $2.55 million to support the tourism industry and LGBTQ2+Pride tourism across the region. KEDCO is one of three tourism agencies that split the funding.

"Tourism businesses and attractions have shown resilience and adaptability, and we want to support these small businesses with a program that is fast, flexible and gives them help in ways they need it most," Said Donna Gillespie, KEDCO's chief executive officer.

Applicants for this new funding can claim expenses retroactively to June 1, 2020. Applications can be made through the Town’s Business Coordinator starting Sept 28 until October 31.  All projects must be completed by November 15, 2020.

Story by Heddy Sorour, Brockville Recorder and Times for the Local Journalism Initiative.