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Community Economic Development

For rural communities to compete in our fast changing world, they must adopt new and focused economic development strategies. Successful rural communities are those which identify economic opportunities and then find unique ways to build upon what they already have. They use their existing assets, look for new ways to produce and market products and look to new global markets.

Our Community Futures plays a key role in working alongside other local and regional community leaders for the development of a sustainable future vision. Along with our community partners, we invest in activities and projects designed to allow our community to be resilient and successful.

Current Projects: 

Leadership Vancouver Island 

Leadership Vancouver Island is a community-focused leadership development program that provides members of Island communities with the professional training, coaching support, and hands-on learning opportunities they need to realize and grow their potential as individuals and global citizens. Community Futures Cowichan provides the Coordination and Adminstrative support to LVI. 

To learn more about LVI click here

Project History:

Ladysmith Maritime Society Visitor Facilities Project (WCCAP project)

With our assistance, the Ladysmith Maritime Society secured $250,000 from the West Coast Community Adjustment Program (WCCAP) to help fund their $1.6 million visitor facilities upgrade and expansion project. Completed in March 2012, the facility is expected to draw an additional 1,350 tourists annually within five years of completion, providing an economic impact of $500,000 annually for the Town of Ladysmith and the surrounding Cowichan Region.

Cowichan Wooden Boat Society Maritime Museum Expansion (WCCAP project)

With our assistance, the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society secured $250,000 in project funding to  expand their marine museum and Interpretive Centre in Cowichan Bay. The new addition to their facilities was built using timber frame construction, and is in itself an attraction in Cowichan Bay. The new facility opened to the public in November 2011.

Youth Dragons' Den

In early 2014 Community Futures Cowichan partnered with Coastal Community Credit Union and Cowichan Secondary School for the first annual Youth Dragons’ Den contest.  Nine student teams in grades 10 to 12 went through the process of developing their products and services, and then making a series of presentations to our “Dragons”.  The winners of this first annual contest took home $800 for their online Horse Game (

Osborne Bay Sea-Trail Network (WCCAP project)

With our assistance, the Municipality of North Cowichan secured a $250,000 WCCAP grant to build the third and final stage of the Crofton Seawalk and complete a sea-trail network running from Maple Bay to Osborne Bay.  The $250,000 helped the Municipality leverage an additional $550,000 to complete the construction, which extended the existing walkway an additional 210 meters, constructed on pilings in the ocean, rather than along the foreshore and high water zone in order to protect the sensitive foreshore region. The Marine Trail was upgraded to include an access point for kayakers, including a secure lock-up for kayaks and canoes, overnight parking, designated area for campsites for overnight stays, basic washroom facilities and welcoming and directional signage.  Areas within the foot trail saw additional clearing, ground proofing, railings, enforced walkways, and additional signage.

Kinsol Trestle Capital Campaign

The Kinsol Trestle project was a major project for us from 2009 to 2011.  We provided administrative support to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) for marketing and community fundraising. The trestle was restored to its former glory and opened to the public in July 2011. It has attracted locals and tourists alike every single day since it reopened, and completed the “missing link” in the section of the Trans Canada Trail between Shawnigan Lake and the Town of Lake Cowichan.

Visions 2020

Visions 2020 is a project we spearheaded in 1992. Through community participation, the project came up with a community vision statement along with six key sectors that affect quality of life in Cowichan. In 2003, we formed a steering committee charged with the task of revisiting and updating the statements, which was done via community consultation in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The results were updated vision statements around each of the six identified sectors as well as an overall community vision statement. In 2006 we handed responsibility for Visions 2020 to our partner, Social Planning Cowichan.