|MARCH 1998 to MARCH 2005 UPDATED TO OCTOBER 2005|
THE CAP PROGRAM DEVELOPS IN VICTORIA COUNTY
……by October 2005 a total of $1,898,500….
In June 1998, six CAP Sites had been set up in Victoria County – in Iona, Ingonish (known as ‘North of Smokey’), Baddeck, Boularderie, North Shore and St. Ann’s – by volunteer Boards in those communities who believed that local access to the Internet for all residents and visitors was a valuable asset to economic community development. They used Industry Canada start up grants to put computers in schools, libraries and a stand alone site all of which served 3000 people in that summer of 1998 with the help of eight students hired in partnership with the Nova Scotia Government PEP program and Industry Canada/CAP Program, Halifax.
9 CAP Sites had been set up with the addition of Bay St. Lawrence, Middle River and North Highlands Community Museum, as well as IT Resource Centres in Baddeck and Ingonish, totaling 9 CAP Sites and 2 partner Employment Resource Boards all working together year round to continue the mandate to provide rural communities with the increasing need to support access to IT services and training for all, as computers became part of the economic culture.
By 2002, While all CAP Sites see the largest volume of activity from May to October each year when visitors happily use their email services, CAP use throughout the rest of the year has increased greatly. (See the usage report on page 2.) Residents now use them year round for information, and varied training in the gamut of computer skills, as well as many publishing services. EI claims applications and income tax filing are the latest popular services. CAP Sites are now considered an important resource in all our County communities. All this is tribute to the vision and work of the volunteer Boards joined in the VCCAPS Association.
PARTNERSHIPS THE KEY TO DEVELOPING AND EVOLVING
When Industry Canada mandated in 1999 that an umbrella organization be set up to manage sustainability funds for CAP Sites in Victoria County, VCCAPS was formed. It was understood by the Board that the key to sustainability and effective use of CAP Sites would have to include more than one funding partnership. So the Board became “project driven”, setting up in 1999/2000 a Project that involved four partners for four months, employing fifteen people County-wide to produce the first County portal in Cape Breton.
With this success, NS CAP in partnership with (HRDC) Service Canada funded a Project Coordinator to act as VCCAPS Regional Coordinator and to write projects that would involve Service Canada as a partner as well as the Municipality of Victoria County and the local branches of Community Services as well as OED, to use the CAP Site network as places for workers to develop, maintain and enhance computer skills, and provide informational conferences and workshops to promote e-commerce activity as well as develop community portals to showcase communities locally and worldwide. The original vision of the start up Volunteer Boards had come to pass!
By March 2005, a total of 7 summer intern projects, 2 six month projects and 9 twelve month projects have been held by this tri - level government funding partnership, employing 207 people and making available to the County economy, $1,225,000 to date as well as $475,000 in EI Top Up wages. By October 31, 2005, the total numbers read 8 summer intern projects, 12 twelve month projects, employing 227 people and making available within the economy $1,323,500 as well as $575,000 in EI Top Up wages – a grand total of $1,898, 500 to date!
Although measured in dollars, which are significant, the figures must also be seen as a sign of valuable contribution to the lives of the 227 people employed, who have been given stepping stones to a better future.
Our Partners are now asking us to seek more Community partnerships to support useful projects to continue to fulfill IT economic development goals. VCCAPS looks forward to the challenge of raising its level of sustainability and community activity!