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Gov. Investment Stream Targets Rural and Northern Communities in BC

By Todd Westcott 11:44AM September 13, 2018

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The governments of Canada and British Columbia have announced new financing streams under the Investing in Canada program to support rural and northern communities and community, culture, and recreation in the province.

The Rural and Northern Communities fund will ensure the needs of British Columbia’s small, rural and remote communities with populations under 25,000 are met. The fund is intended to support communities’ wide range of infrastructure priorities, including broadband connectivity, efficient and reliable energy, Indigenous health and educational facilities, local public transit and reliable road, air or marine infrastructure, as well as improved resilience to natural disasters and environmental quality. For communities of 5,000 people or less, combined provincial and federal funding will cover up to 100 per cent for eligible projects.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to see another part of this important funding agreement being put into action across BC,” said François-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Together with the province, we are investing in infrastructure to strengthen local economies, improve public health and safety, and create greener, more socially inclusive communities where everyone has the chance to succeed.”

Municipal and provincial leaders gather September 10–14th in Whistler, BC for the annual UBCM convention. Centre: Selina Robinson, BC’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Robinson made the announcement of the new streams on September 12th at the convention. Image Credit: BC Government.

The province is partnering with the federal government to invest up to $95 million toward an initial intake under the Rural and Northern Communities Program. Through this first intake, the Government of Canada will contribute up to $54.7 million for the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure program, while the province will provide $40.1 million.

“Investing in local infrastructure gives people better access to the services they need and helps build thriving communities,” said Claire Trevena, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “With access to this new funding, people across BC and in northern and rural communities can stay connected and provide the important services people rely on to make life even better.”

The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program will inject $3.9 billion into projects throughout BC over the next 10 years. In addition to these two funds, the program offers two other funding streams:

  • Green Infrastructure
  • Public Transportation Stream

“The programs announced today provide a further step towards closing the infrastructure gap in B.C.’s communities,” said Wendy Booth, Union of B.C. Municipalities president. “Both funds will contribute to the renewal and expansion of the services provided by local governments. I am very appreciative of the continuing investments by the federal and provincial governments in community infrastructure.”

As of September 12th, 2018, local governments and Indigenous communities, as well as eligible for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, are encouraged to submit applications for these programs through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – B.C. program website: www.gov.bc.ca/Investing-in-Canada-Infrastructure-Program

Approvals are expected to be made public in late 2019.

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