The Sept. 23 editorial by MLA Donna Barnett, “Government trying to rebrand rural B.C.” makes inaccurate assertions about an important federal-provincial government investment in B.C.’s rural communities.
Barnett claims that the government is trying to “rebrand” an existing program under a new name.
This incorrect information does a disservice to people who deserve accurate information about the funds available to support the important work of building up their communities.
In fact, the Rural Dividend Fund is very much still active and helping rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their local economies.
It is however, completely different from the Rural and Northern Communities fund, part of a historic infrastructure funding announcement our government was proud to make during the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in early September.
The Rural and Northern Communities fund is part of a broader $3.9 billion federal-provincial investment in B.C.’s infrastructure that will build up communities, strengthen local economies, and create opportunities for people in every part of the province.
Over the next 10 years, the $284.86 million Rural and Northern Communities fund will help address the unique infrastructure needs and challenges faced by communities with populations under 25,000. Communities can apply for grants for infrastructure priorities such as broadband connectivity, efficient and reliable energy, environmental quality, Indigenous health and educational facilities, reliable road, air or marine infrastructure, as well as improved resilience to natural disasters. We encourage communities to visit www.gov.bc.ca/Investing-in-Canada-Infrastructure-Program to learn more about the RNC fund and other infrastructure programs.
Mayors from across B.C. whole-heartedly welcomed this news at the UBCM gathering as they have been waiting a long time for leadership and commitment from their government through practical, meaningful investments that directly benefit their communities.
Our government will continue to partner with all levels of government, First Nations and non-profit organizations to make life better for people in all communities.
Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural