Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing $571,952 for three projects in the Central Coast Regional District, Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast, announced today.
“The aim of the rural dividend program is to help remote areas, like the Bella Coola Valley, build economic and social resilience,” said Rice, who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “This funding will enable communities to more effectively respond to emergencies, such as during last summer, when wildfires led to evacuations and cut off supplies.”
In November 2017, B.C. communities and not-for-profit organizations affected by last summer’s unprecedented wildfires were asked to submit funding requests to the ministry for projects that would help to support economic diversity and local businesses, and promote tourism. In August, the 7,368-hectare Precipice fire came within 52 kilometres of the community of Bella Coola.
“The rural dividend is just one aspect of our rural development mandate, and our commitment to improving the strength and resilience of rural and First Nations communities,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Given the unprecedented wildfires, we prioritized project applications from impacted communities.”
In the Central Coast region, the following projects received funding under the rural dividend’s special circumstances provision:
- The Central Coast Regional District is being awarded $392,282 to remove obstacles that restrict aircraft access to the Bella Coola Airport. This will enable access for larger aircraft and increase passenger traffic into the region. The project will also involve engagement and collaboration efforts with the Nuxalk Nation to develop a site plan for trail development and culturally specific tourism components on the land surrounding the airport.
- The Central Coast Regional District is also being awarded $100,000 to update its website and create a marketing video showcasing the people, communities and culture of the region — and opportunities for investment.
- The Central Coast Communications Society is being awarded $79,670 to start up Bella Coola Makerspace, a high-tech, multi-material fabrication studio where community members can learn how to use, design, create, modify or repair a wide range of hardware and software.
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