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New business improvement funding making headway in Lac La Biche

With a number of infrastructure projects slated to improve Lac La Biche County, a new business improvement pilot program meant to encourage and support businesses in the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon is making headway.

LAC LA BICHE - With a number of infrastructure projects slated to improve Lac La Biche County, a new business improvement pilot program meant to encourage and support businesses in the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon is making headway. 

The Business Improvement Program that launched last winter aims to financially support businesses to enhance storefronts and complete interior upgrades. The first applicant to the program was approved last month.  

The pilot program includes a total of $300,00 in funding over the next three years —$100,000 set aside for this year’s pilot project. Each approved applicant may receive up to 20 per cent of project costs with a maximum of $20,000 in total funding, said John Andersen, the County’s director of economic investment and retention. 

Eligible applicants that have gone through the process of submitting plans and project quotes for interior and exterior upgrades can receive funding for patio amenities, artwork installations, landscape projects, and utility improvements, alongside dozens of other features that promote a vibrant and attractive community, the application guidelines states. 

The first-ever approved applicant last month will receive almost $1,000 to cover the installation of new store signage. Lac La Biche Pharmacy is a new business in the community taking advantage of the unique program, said Andersen. 

“This is the very first completed application that I have received,” since the pilot program was launched this winter he said. The new pharmacy has taken over the old ‘Stichin Man’ storefront located on 10105 101 Ave in the hamlet of Lac La Biche. 

“This is a new prescribing pharmacist in town, so that’s going to be a new community service,” which is not only a positive service for the community, but one that is making the area more attractive for residents and tourists, said Anderson. 

“This has been the simplest and most professional example and they came through and completed the main criteria.” 

Adding to County initiatives  

Although the multi-million dollar downtown utility upgrades and streetscape project has been delayed because costs recently came at almost double the budgeted amount, when the project does eventually go ahead, the grant program is a good compliment, says said Deputy Mayor Colette Borgun. 

“I’m really excited to see this get kicked off the ground like this because this may provide incentives for other businesses in town to get going and bring more awareness about the project.” 

Moving forward, the economic department hopes the program will garner more attention in the years to come, while applicants continue to be supported during the process, said Anderson.