VICTORIA — The Province of B.C. is beginning the first application review period for its new Rural and Northern Communities Fund.
The fund, a partnership with the federal government, will deliver up to $95 million in funding to build infrastructure projects in B.C.’s smaller rural communities.
Officials explained these communities are often overlooked by funding.
“People in B.C.’s rural communities are often the unsung heroes of our provincial economy,” reads a release from the province.
“They provide labour, expertise and supplies to the booming resource industries that drive our province’s economic well-being. Yet the infrastructure people rely on in rural communities is often in need of repairs or upgrades, and local governments with smaller populations and a smaller economic base are hard pressed to come up with the funds needed to pay for their share of a project.”
This fund is part of a wider, almost $6-billion federal-provincial investment in B.C. infrastructure, the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
“Smaller communities have told me about their difficulties funding local infrastructure projects,” said Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing, in the press release. “As a result, they often miss out on federal and provincial funds.”
For B.C. communities with 5,000 people or less, 100 per cent of eligible project costs can be covered. For communities with between 5,000 and 25,000 people, the program provides 90 per cent of project funding for eligible costs.
Provincial staff are currently reviewing the first batch of funding applications that have come from local governments, First Nations, Indigenous organizations and not-for-profit organizations. The initial application period closed Jan. 24.
“Rural communities and the industries that sustain them are the lifeblood of B.C., and our government is committed to ensuring people in these communities share in our province’s prosperity,” said Robinson.