Three East Kootenay communities are receiving provincial grants to help build homes faster and support economic recovery.

Fernie Invermere and Kimberley will be getting some of the $15 million being spread out between 43 communities.

Local Grants:

– City of Fernie Development Approvals Enhancement: $171,875
– Invermere, Development Approvals Review and Records Management System: $275,000
– Kimberley, Development Approvals Process Review: $200,000

“We are excited to have secured funding for this important work,” said Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza.

“We’ve seen record year after record year of building and development in Fernie. We’re proud of how staff have handled that challenge and recognize that updating these critical bylaws and streamlining our processes will help ensure we’re able to do our best to manage growth for the benefit of the community.”

“We are beyond excited to have received this grant funding,” said Fernie Manager of Planning Derek Cimolini. “Our team works hard every day to turn around applications as soon as possible, however, the volume of applications, paired with older bylaws and a lack of readily available information for prospective applicants often results in less-than-ideal timelines. The work to be completed under this grant will help us to streamline our processes, update critical bylaws and provide valuable education to the development community.”

Provincial Officials said the funds will help increase housing supply and improve affordability.

“Local governments play a critical role in making sure the housing people need in their communities is built quickly and meets local needs. These grants will help them do critical work to modernize development permitting and approvals by removing barriers and streamlining processes,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

“Together, the province, local governments, housing providers and builders can find solutions that support more affordable housing for everyone in B.C.”

According to B.C. officials, many of the communities will be implementing new software to improve tracking, enable electronic applications, and increase the efficiency of multiple development application processes.

“Local governments are creating new ways to streamline development approval processes and accelerate the delivery of new homes to communities,” said Brian Frenkel, president of the Union of BC Municipalities.

“This program provides a welcome investment to implement these changes and will help establish a new range of best practices in B.C.”