The B.C. government has distributed almost $19 million in new grants to support rural communities in the fifth intake of the Rural Dividend.
“This funding supports the diverse needs of small communities throughout the province and the people who live in them,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government is getting results for people in small cities and towns in every region, creating jobs and enhancing everyday services and amenities for families around the province.”
Funding is awarded to 153 local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations around the province for single (up to $100,000) and partnership (up to $500,000) projects.
Successful project grants range from expanding Nordic recreation trails in Fort St. James for visitors and residents, to a project in Ucluelet that will to help older adults overcome barriers and identify opportunities in rural communities, and a regional branding initiative for the Ktunaxa Nation Council Society in Cranbrook. The society aims to market the region and develop a product that includes Ktunaxa history.
Projects were assessed and approved based on the following criteria:
- rural communities most in need
- improved community resiliency and economic strength
- partnership building and enhanced shared prosperity
- project feasibility and sustainability
- economic impact on rural communities
- attracting and retaining youth
- innovation in economic development
More than $4.6 million in grants are being provided through the program’s special circumstances stream to support 23 applicants responding to economic challenges resulting from the loss of a main employer or the impacts of a natural disaster.
- The grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province.
- The Rural Dividend encourages economic diversification through community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business sector development.
- Through the project development stream, $673,124 were awarded to communities around the province to complete preliminary work to support future projects.
- The Government of British Columbia has committed to extending the $25-million-per-year Rural Dividend to 2021-22.
Rural Dividend: www.gov.bc.ca/ruraldividend
For a backgrounder listing the fifth intake's project grant recipients, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Rural_Dividend_Recipients_Fifth_Intake.pdf