$4.5 million from the Provincial Government will go to help rural businesses and communities around B.C. recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to make sure we’re supporting rural businesses and communities, so jobs and services are there for the people who rely on them in these difficult times,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This announcement recognizes the unique economic impact the pandemic has had on rural communities and ensures we get the funding to areas where it is needed most.”
The B.C. Government said the funding will be distributed by the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and the Island Coastal Economic Trust. Each trust will receive up to $1.5-million.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone, and we appreciate the support from the Province and its confidence in SIDIT to help distribute this funding in our region. This timely investment by the Province is most welcome as we work to improve the lives of our citizens, support our businesses and sustain the exceptional quality of life in our southern Interior communities. This assistance will help the communities and businesses in the southern Interior to recover more quickly as we all work to stabilize our economy and position it for the future,” said Laurel Douglas, CEO of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.
About 60 temporary jobs will be created through rural B.C., which will focus on providing support and advisory services to help rural businesses and communities with their economic recovery efforts. Some rural areas outside of the regions covered by the trusts will receive funding, to ensure the broadest possible reach.
Each trust has established its own criteria specific to its region for advisory services to work in rural communities. Services will range from supporting shifts in business focus, to linking communities to resources that support their economic recovery.
“It’s clear rural B.C. has unique recovery needs, and the challenges are different for us in these communities,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. “This new investment will help recovery in our rural communities throughout the province, guided by those local organizations that know best what these rural communities need.”