Invermere, Radium, Akisq’nuk get tech grant money

Sixteen projects receive nearly $480,000 from the Trust’s Community Technology Program

Columbia Basin Trust

People in 16 communities, including Invermere, Radium, and Akisq’nuk, will have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art technology for free as public facilities purchase items such as high-tech recording and digitization equipment, robotics kits, 3-D printers, scanners and software, and teach people how to use them. These projects are being realized with nearly $480,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Technology Program.

“This program helps communities meet the evolving needs of the people who live in them, increasing opportunities to access the latest technology and improve their digital literacy,” said Nicole MacLellan, Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “The ability to access and use technology is a must in today’s world. We were particularly pleased with the response from so many small and rural communities that are working to increase access and bridge the digital divide.”

Announced in fall 2018, this program provided grants to registered non-profit organizations, First Nations communities and local governments that operate public spaces like libraries and community centres. This final intake adds to the nine communities that received support earlier this year, bringing the program’s project total to 25 tech-enabled spaces.

The Invermere Public Library will install stations to create and edit photos, videos and audio; a station to convert old formats like VHS tapes into digital formats; several laptops and tablets; Ozobot and Dash robots; and more with their $65,993 grant.

“People in Invermere will have free access to many technology‐based components that they might not otherwise be able to use,” said Nicole Pawlak, director. “And library staff will be able to offer instructional programs that will lead people through the basics of using and creating with this equipment and software. They will then be able to transfer these skills and manage their way through other technology that they encounter in their daily lives.”

Besides computers, specialized software and other equipment, the grants also enable the organizations to renovate their spaces and buy furniture to create suitable venues. They may also use the funding to train staff and volunteers so they can help residents use the new technology, and to provide barrier-free programming and training to the public, such as classes and workshops, one-on-one coaching and online resources.

Akisq’nuk First Nation’s Columbia Lake Centre is getting up to $82,731 for recording and digitization equipment for Indigenous language preservation and video proudction; technology and software to support distance training, editing, language learning and website development, and digital literacy programming.

Radium Hot Springs Library is getting $14,957 for a digitization station, laptops and tables, a mobile charging cart, and projection equipment to deliver ditial literacy programming.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

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