Provincial investment strengthening rural economic growth in Downtown Belleville



BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is building strong rural communities with investments that will help to support modern and efficient public infrastructure and boost economic development.

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte hosted Randy Pettapiece, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs to announce the Belleville Downtown BIA will receive up to $14,742 in funding through Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program to build opportunity and support local economic growth.

The funding will help the Belleville Downtown BIA expand upon its popular summer event series by adding picnic tables, umbrellas, planters, a giant Adirondack chair within the downtown core area and supplying other branded and promotional materials to boost attendance. The project, which includes investment from the BDBIA and the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, is valued at $48,247.41.

“Downtown businesses are vital to economic growth and recovery in Belleville and across Ontario,” said Smith. “By supporting the Belleville Downtown BIA to attract visitors, we’re helping to direct additional traffic to restaurants, shops, and attractions across the Quinte region. This will be a win for many.”

This funding is part of 61 projects the Ontario government is supporting to help diversify local economies, retain skilled workers, and create jobs in rural communities. The province is committing up to $3.8 million in cost-share funding through the intake of this funding.

 “Our government is listening to the needs of rural Ontario, and we are committed to putting in place programs that will attract investment, create jobs and boost economic growth,” said Pettapiece on behalf of Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Investments through the Rural Economic Development Program are helping shape a strong future for our rural and Indigenous communities by helping create opportunities that boost economic growth and ensure that rural communities can attract the people and investments needed to flourish.

Ontario’s Rural Economic Development Program continues to support rural communities and provide funding that will address barriers to economic development, and better position rural communities for sustained growth and job creation.

Luisa Sorrentino, DBIA Executive Director welcomed the collaboration.

“This project has been designed not only for longevity but also for growth. We can continue to grow the inventory of street furniture each year and invest in other creative solutions that invite people to gather,” said Sorrentino. “As we create the spaces, visitor numbers will increase, which in turn will stimulate the local economy. This will continue to move the Downtown District forward as a tourism destination for day trips and short-term staycations and vibrant community space well beyond RED funding.”

Mitch Panciuk, Mayor of the City of Belleville, was pleased to see investment supporting business growth within the municipality.

“This funding will help create spaces that are welcoming, relaxing - an atmosphere that draws people to the downtown area. Whether it’s to shop, eat, relax or be a part of festivities, this investment will help to attract both tourists and residents which is great for our local economy,” said Panciuk.


  • Applications for the new targeted RED Intake were accepted from February 7, 2022 to March 7, 2022.
  • The Government of Ontario has committed more than $15.2 million to fund more than 287 economic development projects through the RED program since 2019.
  • The RED program supports projects with tangible benefits to rural and Indigenous communities that help to attract business, investment, and create jobs, while also providing greater value for taxpayer dollars.