Residents in the remote Lax Kw’alaams community are benefiting from a $539,400 investment from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund.
The announcement from the port on Friday stated that this their largest Community Investment Fund contribution to date. The funds went into two projects to provide recreational activities for the youth and to enhance digital connectivity for the municipality.
The Coast Tsimshian Academy and recreation centre received equipment and programming through the Outdoor Leadership Adventure Program. Activities such as biking, kayaking and camping are available for families who want to organize an excursion independently or for a larger group.
The second initiative, the Smart Community infrastructure project, has aimed to modernize the community’s information technology system through enhanced management of its computer systems.
“As a remote community without road access, communication infrastructure is so important to our business, education, safety and health services,” said Lax Kw’alaams Mayor John Helin. “Our IT systems have not been upgraded for 20 years, so improved digital connections will have tremendous impact on each and every member of our community. Likewise, new recreational equipment and programs will allow children and adults to access and explore a greater extent of our pristine territory.”
The technology system upgrade offers greater access to online education and programs for members of the community. The computer systems are equipped with software and security to meet global standards for municipal administration and business communication, stated the press release from the port on Friday. The community now has new phone, surveillance and alarm systems to improve the digital security of the IT network.
“These projects are so much more than just wiring, hardware and equipment,” said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert. “The communications infrastructure we’re investing in will improve the quality of life by creating new jobs in the community and allowing Lax Kw’alaams to share its unique cultural heritage in new ways. And we’re thrilled to hear stories about the outdoor adventures their children are embarking on with the new recreation programs and equipment available in the community.”
The Outdoor Leadership Adventure Program has been integrated over the past two years. Students have trained through the Coast Tsimshian Academy and all residents can benefit from the courses offered in kayaking and wilderness excursions. School staff members have also had the opportunity to become certified to instruct and lead different recreation activities, where they can also learn practical skills and gain leadership and mentorship opportunities.
“The children of our community are already reaping the benefits of this program, and it’s immediately apparent when you step foot in our school,” said Kelly Rambeau, Principal of the Coast Tsimshian Academy. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the Port of Prince Rupert and the investments they are making in the future of our community.”