Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announces $3 million in provincial funding for the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) Friday at the Tourism Development Centre.

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announces $3 million in provincial funding for the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) Friday at the Tourism Development Centre.

$3M in beetle funding given to CCBAC

Former premier Gordon Campbell had promised $1 million per year over three years to the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition months before he announced his resignation.

Former premier Gordon Campbell had promised $1 million per year over three years to the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition months before he announced his resignation.

His departure from the premier’s chair resulted in some uncertainty for those involved with CCBAC until Friday when Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett handed over a $3 million cheque on behalf of the province to the coalition.

Handing over the entire amount was unusual, Barnett said, but the idea was to give the coalition the opportunity to accrue interest and build partnerships over the long term.

“I know the pine beetle has taken a back seat for quite a while and we need to bring it back to the forefront,” Barnett said.

“As long as we diversify the better off we will be in the long term.”

CCBAC chair and Williams Lake mayor Kerry Cook, Williams Lake Indian band chief Ann Louie and other CCBAC representatives attended the presentation at the Tourism Development Centre.

Cook told the crowd that CCBAC had recently completed a strategic planning session and that the benefit of receiving the money as a lump sum gives us, “stability and sustainabilty as we move forward.”

Louie said the money would help to revive the economy and her community that had been hard hit.

CCBAC is one of three beetle action coalitions that were formed in 2005 to help communities lessen the impact of the pine beetle. The funding is intended to support projects that create partnerships, diversify local economics, restore forest resources and sustain key industries. On Friday, funding was confirmed for all three CCBAC  groups.

The Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition and the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition also receive $3 million each.