Prince George MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris were two of several interior and island MLAs to hold media events Friday, held in conjunction with Premier Christy Clark’s announcement of a rural economic development strategy.
While the provincial event focused more on the overall strategy, the local event highlighted specific local funding projects, specifically through the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund, which was created last year.
“Northern B.C is a unique part of the province, with our own context, strengths and challenges,” said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris, in a news release. “In the current global environment, projects to diversify our local economies are vital to ensuring the North remains a great place to work and live.”
Funding of $475,000 for five projects in the Prince George area through B.C. Rural Dividend Fund was announced. They include:
- $100,000 to support the Tabor Mountain Recreation Society. This project will upgrade and rehabilitee the Frost Lake portion of the trail system. This work will provide a safer and more environmentally sensitive trail system for both motorized (ATV and snowmobile) and non-motorized (biking, horseback riding, hiking and cross country skiing) users.
- $100,000 to support Community Futures Development Corporation of Fraser Fort George to deliver a training and support program to help farmers access tools and resources offered through Small Business B.C.’s Export Navigator.
- $100,000 to support the Village of Valemount. This project will support the Valemount Community Forest to access up to date information on their wood supply. Encompassing ground checks, vegetation verification and forest cover identification, this information gathered will be used to develop a comprehensive tool to assess the manufacturing capacity in the Robson and Canoe Valleys.
- $100,000 to support the Valemount Learning Society to create a non-profit college. The Valemount Learning society provides a range of services to the community and will use this funding to start phase one of establishing Valemount College, a non-profit institution focused on rural economic sectors. It will attract students to Valemount to gain accreditation in outdoor recreation, First Nations cultural tourism, rural entrepreneurship and tourism administration.
- $75,562 to the District of Mackenzie for the Little Mac Ski Hill. The Little Mac Trails project will use this funding to construct approximately 2.2 kilometres of a natural-surface trail. Additions to the trail will include bridges and boardwalks to preserve environmentally sensitive areas and technical trail features to enhance the park experience for users. In addition to this, there will be four new trails following the perimeter of the Little Mac Ski Hill, utilizing the existing John Dahl Regional Park trail network.
In addition, more than $811,000 is being provided through the Canada-B.C. Job Fund and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers for five programs:
- $130,972 for the Prince George Employment Services Society to deliver the Seasons Employment Program for Older Workers.
- $248,111 for the Prince George Employment Services Society to deliver the Essential Skills Training and Job Readiness Program.
- $85,609 for the Community Futures Development Corporation of Fraser Fort George to deliver the Cariboo Business Entrepreneur Skills Training.
- $190,655 for the YMCA of Northern B.C. to deliver Youth Works program.
- $156,000 to the College of New Caledonia to deliver the Reintegration Industry Readiness Training.
“The release of the rural economic development strategy today lays out a plan to support job creation and economic development in rural B.C. and provides funding for specific initiatives,” said Bond. “We want to ensure that rural B.C. is a place where families choose to live, work and raise their families.”