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Posted: March 21, 2018

Rural Dividend grants boost local projects

Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing $1,424,303 for nine projects in the Kootenays, Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West, and Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston, announced yesterday on behalf of Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“By helping local people deliver projects they know will make a real difference for their communities, we are building a foundation for healthy, robust and sustainable economies across our region,” said Mungall.

“These great projects show how we can harness the immense creativity in our rural communities,” said Conroy. “Trail is working to market and promote local sport fishing and Nakusp continues to develop the Mount Abriels trails network. Both of these projects will help attract tourists from around the world to rural B.C.”

The funding is part of nearly $8 million in 58 project grants being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations through the BC Rural Dividend Program. Rural dividend grants help fund projects that that will stabilize rural economies. Grants can be up to $100,000 each, or up to $500,000 each for partnership projects.

Four East Kootenay projects are receiving funds.

The Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance is being awarded $500,000 to construct the Lakeview segment of the Westside Legacy Trail, a multi-use, non-motorized paved trail connecting the communities of Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs.

The Akisq’nuk First Nation is being awarded $97,120 toward building a multi-use, indoor sport and recreation facility that will serve the people of Windermere. Activities funded include construction training for 12 community members and engineering site surveys.

The Village of Canal Flats is being awarded $80,000 for a visualization of a mixed-use cross-section of downtown to address deficiencies, an industrial land strategy and a hotel study.

The Columbia Valley Cycling Society is being awarded $100,000 to develop and construct an intermediate-level mountain bike trail in the Mount Swansea recreation area. The new trail will improve accessibility and attract families, and less experienced riders, to the area.

“Government is following through on its commitment to help rural communities navigate changes that have impacted local economies, by supporting local business development and creating new partnerships to promote shared prosperity,” Donaldson said. “These rural dividend grants are bringing positive change to rural communities throughout B.C.”

Earlier this month, nearly $5 million was granted to fund 30 projects in wildfire-impacted areas and two communities that were affected by the shutdown of local mills.

The rural dividend encourages economic diversification, innovation, sustainability and collaboration, and recognizes the diverse needs of individual communities.

As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21. The rural dividend is one aspect of government’s rural development mandate, which is committed to making rural communities more resilient.

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