THE federal and provincial governments are working together to deliver everything from new recreation centres to better internet, with two new infrastructure programs that will build up communities in every part of British Columbia, it was announced on Wednesday.
The newly launched programs – the Community, Culture and Recreation fund, and the Rural and Northern Communities fund – are part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
“Communities have been waiting too long for help building the arenas, community centres, and transit and energy infrastructure that people want and need,” said Selina Robinson, B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Together with the federal government, we are investing in infrastructure that will build up communities, strengthen local economies and create opportunities for people in every part of the province.”
The Community, Culture and Recreation program will provide access to funding for projects that upgrade and build sports facilities, trails, local community centres and spaces for arts and culture. It will also support health and educational facilities that uphold the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
The Rural and Northern Communities fund will ensure the unique needs of British Columbia’s small, rural and remote communities with populations under 25,000 are met. The fund will support communities’ wide range of infrastructure priorities, including broadband connectivity, efficient and reliable energy, Indigenous health and educational facilities, local public transit and reliable road, air or marine infrastructure, as well as improved resilience to natural disasters and environmental quality. For communities of 5,000 people or less, combined provincial and federal funding will cover up to 100% for eligible projects.
“The Government of Canada is pleased to see another part of this important funding agreement being put into action across B.C.,” said François-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Together with the Province, we are investing in infrastructure to strengthen local economies, improve public health and safety, and create greener, more socially inclusive communities where everyone has the chance to succeed.”
The Province is partnering with the federal government to invest up to $95 million toward an initial intake under the Rural and Northern Communities Program and more than $134 million toward an initial intake under the Community, Culture and Recreation Program.
“Investing in local infrastructure gives people better access to the services they need and helps build thriving communities,” said Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “With access to this new funding, people across B.C. and in northern and rural communities can stay connected and provide the important services people rely on to make life even better.”
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program will inject $3.9 billion into projects throughout B.C. over the next 10 years. In addition to these two funds, the program offers two other funding streams:
- Green Infrastructure
- Public Transportation Stream
“The programs announced today provide a further step towards closing the infrastructure gap in B.C.’s communities,” said Wendy Booth, Union of B.C. Municipalities president. “Both funds will contribute to the renewal and expansion of the services provided by local governments. I am very appreciative of the continuing investments by the federal and provincial governments in community infrastructure.”
Local governments and Indigenous communities, as well as eligible for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, are now encouraged to submit applications for these programs through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – B.C. program website: www.gov.bc.ca/Investing-in-Canada-Infrastructure-Program
Approvals are expected to be made public in late 2019.