A handful of rural Vancouver Island communities are set to receive recovery funding from the B.C. Government through a grant program aimed at helping economies rebound from COVID-19.
The Province says it is allocating $20 million to 38 rural projects across the province in an effort to help create jobs and economic opportunities during the ongoing pandemic.
13 of the 38 total projects are communities in rural Vancouver Island areas and the surrounding coastal regions.
“We are working to support economic recovery in every corner of the province, so families and communities can get through the pandemic and start looking towards their futures again,” said Premier John Horgan. “These shovel-ready projects will put people living in rural British Columbia back to work immediately and support building diversified economies in their communities.”
The government says the Rural Economic Recovery (RER) program grants will support communities hoping to rebound from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and rebuild their economies moving forward.
“Our government is connecting communities with the resources they need to create jobs and new economic opportunities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This has been a challenging year for British Columbians, and the remoteness of some rural communities can mean additional challenges. These grants will have a positive impact as communities manage through COVID-19 and beyond.”
The government emphasizes that these grants will support “immediate job creation” through Indigenous and local governments, organizations and not-for-profit projects.
The Province adds that upgrading municipal or Indigenous-owned industrial parks, airport expansions, marine access facilities, destination trail networks and improvements to rural-based mountain resorts will also help rural communities “grow and diversify their economies.”
“StrongerBC is about building an economic recovery that includes everyone, and it is vital our rural communities remain vibrant,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “The RER program is one part of our commitment to spark job growth and help build stronger communities throughout B.C.”
The RER funding is part of $100 million of restart money administered through the provincially funded Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP).
Below are the projects being funded for rural Vancouver Island communities and in the surrounding coastal regions of British Columbia:
* Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Campground Expansion, $510,340: addition of sites, new trails and service upgrades, and an access road at Pachena Bay Campground.
* Town of Comox, Marine Services Building, $1 million: construct indoor and outdoor commercial and retail space in the growing Comox Marina.
* Ditidaht First Nation, Marine Access Revitalization, $409,871: expand and upgrade the dock, including platform, fencing, pedestrian ramp, lighting and interpretive kiosk.
Gwa’yas’dums, Gilford Island
* Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, Revitalizing the Shores of Gwa’yas’dums – Buddy Bay Campground, $274,971: assessments, design and construction of kayak-accessible Buddy Bay campground.
Malahat First Nation, Mill Bay:
* Malahat First Nation, Malahat Business Park Infrastructure Expansion, $999,281: final stage of clearing, grading and services for light industrial development.
Mount Cain Alpine Park, Regional District of Mount Waddington Area D:
* Mount Cain Alpine Park Society, Mount Cain Lodge, $874,000: construct new day lodge to house services and support move to summer operations.
Pacheedaht First Nation, Port Renfrew:
* Pacheedaht First Nation, Campground Expansion, $992,589: add serviced and unserviced camp sites, service additional sites, washroom facilities and parking, and improve access.
* WorkLink Employment Society, Mobile Visitor/Business Information Center, $280,000: trailer, renovations, landscaping, services for a visitor centre that can be relocated.
Regional District of Nanaimo Area F, Parksville:
* Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce, Mid Vancouver Island Micro- fulfillment Centre, $620,000: construct scalable and modular warehouse for storage and shipping of local business goods.
* qathet Regional District Area C, Powell River Airport Runway Extension Phase 1, $1 million: cap landfill to allow for runway expansion to support deliveries and passenger flights.
Salt Spring Island:
* Salt Spring Abattoir Society, Salt Spring Abattoir Expansion, $222,525: expansion to increase processing capacity to support famers and meet demand for local meat.
* Tlowitsis Nation, Redevelopment of the Naka Creek Campsite, $352,583: convert campsite to fee-for-service and upgrade facilities.
* Klahoose First Nation, Klahoose First Nation Marine Access Revitalization, $361,590: improve facilities, including dock extension, fish cleaning station, covered gathering area, boat ramp and parking.