VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Liberals are calling on the NDP Government to re-instate the Rural Dividend Fund after it was suspended to pay for the Province’s forestry plan.
The CBC published a report Monday that said small municipalities in B.C. had been told the Rural Dividend Fund program was cancelled for 2019 to that the Province could fund a forestry program.
“John Horgan and the NDP have already ignored the crisis in the interior forest industry, and now they are going to steal from the Rural Dividend Fund to pay for their half-baked Forestry Transition program,” says Andrew Wilkinson, BC Liberal Leader. “This is an insult to every single community that has lost its primary forestry employment, and now the NDP are taking away their only real hope of diversification.”
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On September 17, the NDP announced $69 million to fund a new series of measures to support British Columbia forest workers impacted by mill closures and shift reductions in several B.C. Interior communities.
Steve Forseth of the Cariboo Regional District told the CBC said he’s surprised the NDP was willing to cancel Rural Dividend funding because so many local governments rely on it for important community projects.
Communities in the B.C. Peace received $978,082 in 2019 from the Rural Dividend Program.
The grant is designed to help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.