Building on the economic benefits and jobs created by getting to yes on major projects and provincial investments in infrastructure, Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond and Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris today announced immediate investments and a long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s rural economic development strategy that will create jobs and economic opportunities in Prince George.
Building on our Rural Advantages: B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy outlines the Province’s three-pronged approach to build, strengthen, and diversify rural communities. These investments are expected to support up to 26,600 direct and indirect jobs with an overall impact of $2.8 billion to provincial GDP. Targeted initiatives include $40 million to expand and enhance high-speed Internet and an extension of the $25 million Rural Dividend Fund to reinvigorate and diversify more local economies. These will ensure British Columbians in all regions of the province have the opportunity for good-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community.
To strengthen the Province’s commitment to supporting rural communities and in recognition of the unique challenges and opportunities they face, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett was recently appointed Minister of State for Rural Economic Development. Building on our Rural Advantages delivers on a key priority in the minister of state’s mandate letter.
With the release of Building on our Rural Advantages, the Province is also making targeted investments that will benefit rural communities throughout B.C., including an investment of over $475,000 for five projects in the Prince George area through B.C. Rural Dividend Fund:
- $100,000 to support the Tabor Mountain Recreation Society upgrades and rehabilitation of the Frost Lake Trail.
- $100,000 to support Community Futures Development Corporation of Fraser Fort George to deliver a training and support program to help farmers access tools and resources offered through Small Business B.C.’s Export Navigator.
- $100,000 to support the Village of Valemount to develop a digital tool to assess the capacity of the newly created Valemount Community Forest.
- $100,000 to support the Valemount Learning Society to create a non-profit college.
- $75,562 to the District of Mackenzie for the development of four new trails following the perimeter of Little Mac Ski Hill.
In addition, over $811,000 is being invested in Prince George through the Canada-B.C. Job Fund and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers for five programs:
- $130,972 for the Prince George Employment Services Society to deliver the Seasons Employment Program for Older Workers.
- $248,111 for the Prince George Employment Services Society to deliver the Essential Skills Training and Job Readiness Program.
- $85,609 for the Community Futures Development Corporation of Fraser Fort George to deliver the Cariboo Business Entrepreneur Skills Training.
- $190,655 for the YMCA of Northern B.C. to deliver Youth Works program.
- $156,000 to the College of New Caledonia to deliver the Reintegration Industry Readiness Training.
Premier Christy Clark –
“B.C.’s rural economies and natural resource industries are at the backbone of our economy, and are shouldering the risk posed by the global downturn in commodity prices. These challenges require immediate action to support our rural communities and a long-term plan that builds on our rural advantages to create jobs and diversify our economy.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“Creating the conditions for rural British Columbia to grow and thrive is a key priority for our government. Building on our Rural Advantages gives rural British Columbians the tools to shape their own future, and reflects the importance we place on the workers, families and businesses who reside in in the rural areas of the province.”
Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount and Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour–
“The release of the rural economic development strategy today lays out a plan to support job creation and economic development in rural B.C. and provides funding for specific initiatives. We want to ensure that rural B.C. is a place where families choose to live, work and raise their families.”
Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Northern B.C is a unique part of the province, with our own context, strengths and challenges. In the current global environment, projects to diversify our local economies are vital to ensuring the North remains a great place to work and live.”
- The Province will invest $3.6 billion in economic development activities targeted at rural communities in 2016/17. These investments support key initiatives including capital investments, improving connectivity and transportation infrastructure, providing close-to-home skills training, increasing economic competitiveness, attracting new investment, expanding opportunities for youth, and partnering with Aboriginal communities.
- The Province invests over $2.2 billion each year in total skills training and education for rural areas across B.C.
- As of March 2017, the Rural Dividend Fund has provided communities of less than 25,000 residents with nearly $24 million to reinvigorate and diversify local economies.
To find out more about the BC Rural Economic Development Strategy, visit: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan
To find out more about Balanced Budget 2017, visit: bcbudget.ca
To find out more information about the #BCTech Strategy, visit: bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca
To find out more about career planning and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit: workbc.ca/blueprintbuilder
To find out more about the BC Rural Advisory Council, visit: gov.bc.ca/ruraladvisorycouncil
A backgrounder follows.