People in 16 communities 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.
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.
The Kimberley Public Library will receive $85,389 for 12 laptops (PC and Mac), a range of creative software, a 3-D printer and virtual reality equipment. Eight other communities also received grants from $7,000 (Nakusp) to $127,054 (Revelstoke) for technology improvements.