Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing more than $2 million to fund 20 projects for community organizations and First Nations in wildfire-impacted communities in the Cariboo Region, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, announced today.
“The rural dividend is just one aspect of our rural-development mandate committed to making rural communities more resilient,” said Donaldson. “Given the unprecedented wildfires in the Cariboo, project applications from those impacted communities were prioritized.”
Among the projects funded in the Cariboo are trail developments in the North Cariboo and near Wells and Williams Lake, and a plan for Indigenous tourism near Barkerville. The District of Wells, as part of its recovery plan, will complete a corridor wildfire mitigation and beautification project. Lillooet will implement a regional tourism and economic development plan. Quesnel received funding for a waterfront development plan, and to market the city as a four-season destination to attract new residents, tourists and investors.
During the fourth intake, applications for rural dividend funding from wildfire-impacted areas were prioritized for review. Three of the projects were funded under the special circumstances provision of the rural dividend, specifically designed to assist communities undergoing economic hardship.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21.
BC Rural Dividend program: www.gov.bc.ca/ruraldividend
A backgrounder follows.
Media RelationsMinistry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource
Operations and Rural Development
- The District of 100 Mile House is being awarded $86,986 to create a sustainable-heating system and upgrade washrooms at historic Martin Exeter Hall in order to meet occupancy standards and improve accessibility.
- The Cariboo Regional District is being awarded $75,000 to develop construction-ready design plans for an aircraft staging area and full runway overlay at the South Cariboo Regional Airport, which serves the south Cariboo area from 108 Mile Ranch.
- The Cariboo Regional District is being awarded $335,000 under the rural dividend’s special circumstances provision for the North Cariboo Trail Development Project – completing two trail networks over a two-year period, with two more to follow, and partnering with the College of New Caledonia to develop training programs for trail design, planning, building and marketing.
- Cariboo Ski Touring Club is being awarded $10,000 to buy and install portable snow-making equipment at its main Hallis Lake venue, near Quesnel.
- The Lillooet and District Chamber of Commerce is being awarded $99,550 to implement a regional tourism and economic development plan, including development of Tourism Lillooet, a tourism ambassador program and a regional tourism familiarization tour. The Rural Dividend Program funded an earlier tourism and marketing project.
- Loon Lake Road Community Recreational and Agricultural Society is being awarded $1,607 to install new appliances and a new sound system at the Loon Lake Community Hall.
- The Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society is being awarded $100,000 to identify items its five-member First Nations wish to display in a proposed museum and cultural centre. In an earlier intake, the Rural Dividend Program funded construction documentation for the centre.
- The Potato House Sustainable Community Society is being awarded $10,000 to hire staff and support marketing, renovation and compost programs at The Potato House Project, a community initiative to celebrate one of the last standing heritage houses in downtown Williams Lake.
- The City of Quesnel is being awarded $100,000 for a waterfront development plan at the confluence of the Fraser River, Quesnel River and Baker Creek that is based on stakeholder engagement and considers planning, economic development, archeological and engineering issues.
- The City of Quesnel is being awarded $250,000 under the rural dividend’s special circumstances provision to market the city as a four-season destination for visitors and residents, and to target investors to diversify the economy.
- The Quesnel Downtown Association is being awarded $68,000 to create a marketing plan to inform the public about the Reid Street revitalization project in the downtown core, and ensure customers continue to access businesses during the construction.
- The Quesnel Shelter and Support Society is being awarded $99,458 to create and sustain Rebuild Junction, a second-hand building supply and junk-removal business that offers skills development and opportunities for individuals who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or experiencing other significant barriers to employment.
- The Barkerville Heritage Trust is being awarded $100,000 to work with the Lhtako Dené Nation, and other Indigenous partners in the region, to design and implement Indigenous tourism with interpretive and cultural activities and programming.
- Ulkatcho First Nation is being awarded $56,960 to train 16 community members to use a portable sawmill, so the business can expand and increase employment in the community.
- The District of Wells is being awarded $85,000 to determine the feasibility of extending municipal boundaries, including public and First Nations consultation, infrastructure and environmental reviews, and mapping.
- The District of Wells is being awarded $299,450, under the rural dividend’s special circumstances provision, to hire community members to complete corridor wildfire mitigation and community/corridor beautification — a project that is linked to the community’s recovery plan.
- The Wells and Area Trail Society is being awarded $10,000 to implement the second phase of the Cornish Mountain ski trail development, including a link to a five-kilometre loop trail being built by the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest and West Fraser Mills.
- The City of Williams Lake is being awarded $48,000 to develop an investment master plan to guide future development of airport lands and address infrastructure upgrade requirements.
- Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc) is being awarded $100,000 to support a marketing strategy for its Coyote Rock community development, which features T’exelc culture and the Coyote Rock brand.
- Xatśūll First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band) is being awarded $96,544 to complete the design and construction of 8.52 kilometres of cross-country and downhill trails, and provide advanced training in trail planning, construction and maintenance for 12 local youth and community members.