The provincial government is providing nearly $14 million in grants for over 150 projects to support economic development and recreational opportunities for British Columbians in rural communities throughout the province.
“As someone who lives in a rural community, I know that rural B.C. is the backbone of our economy,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every region of our province, and I’m glad our government is providing these one-time grants to lend extra help to people, communities and economies in rural B.C.”
The grants include approximately $5 million for 39 trail and recreation projects, and almost $9 million for 114 projects that support rural community development. Projects selected for these one-time grants were chosen from the following three categories:
- First Nations;
- municipalities; and
- not-for-profit organizations.
The District of Tumbler Ridge is among the recipients that received a grant for trail and recreation projects. The district will use $500,000 to build a series of world-class mountain biking trails, ranging from beginner-level trails to provide skill-building potential and fun for all ages, to more-challenging cross-country and downhill trails.
“This boost from the Province to enhance new economic development opportunities for rural and remote communities is very much welcomed by the District of Tumbler Ridge,” said Keith Bertrand, mayor, District of Tumbler Ridge. “Here in the Tumbler Ridge Unesco Global Geopark, we have the natural terrain to create some world-class mountain biking, which will definitely complement all of the splendour we have to offer here. Our Tumbler Ridge mountain bike association has done a tremendous job to bring this dream to reality.”
Among the recipients of grants to support rural community development is the Williams Lake Indian Band (WLIB) that received $500,000 to build a cannabis production facility. The 557-square-metre (6,000-square-foot) facility will have 200 square metres (2,150 square feet) of growing space.
“We’re extremely grateful for the generous support of the Province of British Columbia,” said Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars. “The last five years have been very challenging for the Cariboo – with the Mount Polley disaster, the wildfires of 2017 and now the COVID-19 crisis. The WLIB cannabis cultivation project will help to kick-start our economy, create new jobs and stimulate tourism. This project represents a huge opportunity for the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Cariboo-Chilcotin.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created unforseen economic challenges in many rural communities throughout the province. The grants for these projects are in addition to the more than $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and other funding for people, businesses and services the Province has already announced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our government has been listening to rural B.C., and we’ve got your back,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We know the pandemic has caused challenges for people living in smaller communities, and we are hopeful that funding these projects will help rural B.C. come back strong.”
Grant recipients were identified from applications received during the sixth intake of the Rural Dividend Program in summer 2019. Priority was given to economic development projects that have a focus on and a potential for job creation.
For a backgrounder listing the rural community development grants by recipient, visit: