Four projects on northern Vancouver Island and the central coast are getting $1.28 million from the BC government’s Rural Dividend Program, North Island MLA Claire Trevena announced Monday on behalf of Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“These projects will yield environmental and economic benefits for Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, Quatsino First Nation, and the villages of Sayward and Tahsis,” Trevena said. “We are listening to rural communities so we can help them take on projects they know will make a real difference.”
The funding is part of nearly $8 million in 58 project grants being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations through the BC Rural Dividend Program. Rural dividend grants help fund projects that that will stabilize rural economies. Grants can be up to $100,000 each, or up to $500,000 each for partnership projects.
Dzawada’enuxw First Nation is being awarded $500,000 to complete detailed planning for the Padakus Hydropower run-of-river project, in partnership with the BC Institute of Technology. The project will displace about 96 per cent of the diesel used by residents of Gwa’yi Village in the Kingcome Inlet area of the central coast.
Quatsino First Nation is being awarded $481,500 to identify and prioritize common development goals within its traditional territory on the west coast of northern Vancouver Island, through community meetings and analysis of renewable energy and other cultural, spiritual, environmental and economic resources. It will work in partnership with Interfor.
The Village of Sayward is being awarded $100,000 to implement the first phase of its downtown Working Waterfront Project, including design and construction of a trail and lookout deck.
The Village of Tahsis is being awarded $200,000 to complete the first phase of the multi-purpose Community Unity Trail from Tahsis to the Little Zeballos River headwaters. Earlier Rural Dividend projects supported planning for the trail, which will include signage in indigenous languages noting important First Nation cultural and historical features. Partners include Ehattesaht Chinehkint First Nation, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and the Village of Zeballos.
“Government is following through on its commitment to help rural communities navigate changes that have impacted local economies, by supporting local business development and creating new partnerships to promote shared prosperity,” Donaldson said. “These rural dividend grants are bringing positive change to rural communities throughout B.C.”
Earlier this month, nearly $5 million was granted to fund 30 projects in wildfire-impacted areas and two communities that were affected by the shutdown of local mills.
The rural dividend encourages economic diversification, innovation, sustainability and collaboration, and recognizes the diverse needs of individual communities.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21. The rural dividend is one aspect of government’s rural development mandate, which is committed to making rural communities more resilient.