By Kevin J Sabo
For the Advance
The Battle River Innovation Centres in Castor and Forestberg are open for business.
Operated by BREOC (Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee), the centres have been built to use cutting edge technology to help bring education, assistance with government forms, and rental spaces to allow people to hold meetings, use the Internet and work on business opportunities or search for jobs.
“We try to be a one-stop shop,” said Kara Spady, the economic transition coordinator.
”We want to eliminate the geographical barriers that force people out of the community for training.”
The centres are funded through the Government of Alberta Coal Transition Fund and Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Each centre has a small staff to help job seekers or business owners who come in fill out forms, provide business coaching, and draw business into the region.
Alongside Spady, who oversees both centres, other staff include Amanda Simpson in Castor and Jennifer Ness in Forestberg as Client Advisors.
“We plan to offer more courses,” said BREOC Chairman George Glazier during the speeches given at the grand opening.
“We want this to be a resource centre where people can get help without leaving the region.”
To increase the reach of the centres and the courses they provide, BREOC, the Paintearth Community Adult Learning Council and Flagstaff Community Adult Learning have partnered together to host education sessions in the centres.
To date H2S has already run in Castor’s classroom, and the New Futures program and confined space are upcoming.
Both centres also have broadband Internet, and several computers to rent as well as the ability to print and fax documents, and the ability to bring classes conducted at one centre to be simulcast to the other by way of a Skype, a capability that was demonstrated during the opening after a couple of minor technology glitches.
There is no charge to use the centre if it’s for a job search or educational use.
Non-profit groups receive a 50 per cent discount off the fees, which can range from $15 for half a day laptop use in the co-working room to $250 for the full day renting the classroom in the centre.
Another option available to people wishing to use the centre is the month rate of $289, which gives access to all amenities.
First time use of the centre is free, and there is no charge for the printing of documents.
The Battle River Innovation Centre in Castor is located at 5302-50th Ave. in the old Paintearth Gas Co-op building, and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.