Funding everything from a goat weed-control business, to wheelchair accessible trails to the development of a land-based fish farm, the province’s BC Rural Dividend Program is giving away just under $1 million for 11 projects in the Cariboo region.
The BC rural dividend grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.
BC Rural Dividend funded projects for the Cariboo
• Canim Lake Indian Band is being awarded $100,000 to support Phase 2 of a land-based, closed-containment fish-farm development plan. The project includes field investigations, environmental assessments, and partnership and business development.
• The Cariboo Regional District is being awarded $100,000 to expand low-mobility wilderness trails, including: Anahim Lake Trails Network, Nimpo Lake Community Trails and Bullion Pit Historic Site. This project was developed as a result of two previously funded Rural Dividend projects.
• The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society is being awarded $52,015 to implement Phase 1 of its community directive and strategy plan. The project will complete the three objectives required to develop a plan for the future of the museum, including creating marketing materials, conducting an economic development review and cataloguing the collection.
• The Corporation of the Village of Clinton is being awarded $80,000 for a five-year economic development plan. The project includes an audit study, a stakeholder engagement plan and an economic diversification implementation plan.
• The Esk’etemc First Nation is being awarded $100,000 to conduct a detailed infrastructure design and complete cost estimates to support the development of a light-industrial business park on Johnny Sticks Indian Reserve #2.
• The Lhtako Dene Nation is being awarded $100,000 to complete the designs, environmental, mitigation and topographical assessments, as well as cost estimates for a construction package to support the addition of a two-bay truck wash at the Lhtako Gas and Convenience store.
• New Pathways to Gold Society is being awarded $54,550 for the Cariboo Wagon Road Restoration Project. The project will allow for community engagement, help develop final planning documents and restore sections of the Cariboo Wagon Road from Yale to Barkerville.
• Stswecem’c Xgat’tem Development Ltd. Partnership is being awarded $100,000 for the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem Biological Weed Control with Goats Enterprise. This project provides an environmentally sound alternative to pesticides.
• Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area Association is being awarded $89,360 to attract and retain business in the downtown area. The project includes a marketing campaign and new signs for arts, culture, parks and heritage sites in the community.
• Xatsull First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band) is being awarded $100,000 to explore the potential for agriculture on Soda Creek Indian Reserve #1 and Deep Creek Indian Reserve #2. The project includes a land capacity report, a summary plan of agricultural opportunities and a capital investment plan.
• Yunesit’in First Nation is being awarded $40,000 for a study to determine the feasibility of acquiring Deer Creek Ranch on the western shore of the Chilcotin River.
This year the BC Rural Dividend Program provided $935,925 for the 11 projects in the Cariboo region.
The intent of the BC Rural Dividend is to assist rural communities with a population of 25,000 or less to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies. It was developed by the Liberal government to recognize both the contribution rural communities have made to B.C.’s economy, and the unique challenges they face to diversify beyond the forest industry.
Under the NDP, the program continues to contribute to the strength and sustainability of small rural communities, making them more attractive places to live and work, according the program’s website.
“The program is focused on supporting worthy projects that help rural communities navigate changes impacting their economies, such as attracting and retaining youth, using innovation to drive economic growth, and developing new and effective partnerships to support shared prosperity,” states the website.
The Rural Dividend is administered by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the government has committed to extending the $25-million-per-year Rural Dividend to 2021-22, it announced Monday, April 22.