Two Quesnel projects receive rural dividend funding

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson
Forest Minister Doug Donaldson

Two projects in Quesnel have each received $5000 in funding through the province’s rural dividend fund.

The Barkerville Heritage Trust will be able to provide on-site housing to seasonal Barkerville Historic Town and Park staff, thanks to a $500,000.

“The funding provides a boost to the local economy by supporting Barkerville, park licensees and independent business contractors to attract and retain staff at the heritage site,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The rural dividend’s special circumstances provision was specifically designed to assist communities undergoing economic hardship, such as those impacted by wildfire.”

The funds will be used to build on-site, seasonal staff accommodations in the Barkerville Historic Town and Park. The project provides a temporary solution to the housing shortage in the area, while work toward a permanent, sustainable housing solution continues.

The project will create future opportunities for revenue and partnerships with the local forestry and mining industry. Barkerville attracts 70,000 visitors annually, and is a key economic driver for the region.

“Barkerville Historic Town and Park, governed by The Barkerville Heritage Trust, is thankful for this critical investment in staff housing,” said Ed Coleman, the trust’s CEO. “A tourism asset of our size, which generates $25 million in regional and provincial economic impacts, relies extensively on a reliable staff housing strategy. This investment provides an immediate opportunity to address a critical seasonal housing need, as we continue to work on the long-term strategy with our partners.”

The Cariboo Regional District’s animal housing facility in Alex Fraser Park will be upgraded, thanks to a $500,000 grant.

“The regional district has identified the agriculture sector as an opportunity in the region that will help revitalize the economy after the 2017 wildfire season,” said Donaldson. “This special circumstances grant, provided from the Rural Dividend, will support the development of additional agricultural courses at the College of New Caledonia, as well as the agri-industry and event tourism in the area.”

The funds will be used to replace the existing Fur and Feather building at Alex Fraser Park with an open-concept structure that can be configured for different uses, including agricultural events and training opportunities, as well as accommodating livestock and pets during animal evacuations.

“Alex Fraser Park is a key resource in our region and a hub for housing evacuated animals,” said Margo Wagner, chair of the Cariboo Regional District. “Thanks to the Province’s support, we can improve the facilities and, in turn, build our region’s resiliency and preparedness and support other communities in emergencies.”