As the MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin and the Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, I was pleased to announce B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy with Premier Christy Clark last week. Our plan clearly demonstrates how we will be taking immediate steps to support thriving rural communities.
Our government’s rural economic development strategy outlines targeted initiatives for rural communities across the province to ensure British Columbians in all regions have the opportunity for good-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community. Measures in our strategy include providing $40 million to expand and enhance high-speed Internet, $310,971 of which will be invested here at home for an Internet service provider in 100 Mile House to significantly improve Internet access in the region.
We have also provided an extension to the $25 million Rural Dividend Fund to reinvigorate and diversify more local economies and ensure that British Columbians have the opportunity for good-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community. Several organizations have been supported by the Rural Dividend Fund in the past, and I’m thrilled to say that this recent extension of the Rural Dividend translates into ongoing support for our local economy.
Another important way we’re providing support for local jobs and growth is by investing in our infrastructure. These types of investments mean a bright future for our tourism sector, because safe and reliable roadways are a vitally important element in attracting visitors to our beautiful corner of the province. That’s why our plan will continue investing in the Cariboo Connector, for a total commitment of $133 million over three years, including upgrades to gravel roads near 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, providing direct jobs and improving transportation infrastructure.
Our government is focused on creating the conditions for rural B.C. to grow and thrive, and we are determined to give rural British Columbians the tools they require to address their specific needs and shape their own future.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.