Rural B.C. communities with under 25,000 people are now eligible to apply for funding from the government through the B.C. Rural Dividend.
The B.C. Rural Dividend is a $75 million fund that will be distributed to rural communities over the next three years. The government’s stated goal for the fund is helping rural communities diversify and strengthen their economies.
The application period runs from April 4 to May 31.
Local governments, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations are all eligible to apply for funding in four categories: community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development and business sector development.
“Many people have been waiting for the announcement from the province that explained the criteria. I am sure that there will be a lot of interest but I am not aware of a project to date,” said CSRD director Rhona Martin.
Applicants can apply for up to $100,000 in funding but must contribute at least 20 per cent of the total project cost.
In an instruction package on the B.C. government’s website, applicants are asked to provide their project’s title, and a summary of the project in less than 400 words. The instructions ask that applicants also include information such as the project’s estimated duration, financial information and an assessment of what community need the project is trying to meet. Applicants are also asked to include letters of support from the community.
“We promised to help manage the effects of rapid growth and share the wealth that comes from rural B.C. more fairly with the communities that create it,” said Premier Christy Clark.
The funds are administered by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations with input from the B.C. Rural Advisory Council.
The Rural Advisory Council is a group of elected officials, First Nations representatives and members of economic development organizations from rural communities across B.C.