Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett encourages local governments and organizations in Cranbrook, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford, Canal Flats and the region’s First Nations to apply for the $75-million BC Rural Dividend to help strengthen their communities.
As committed during last September’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention and in Balanced Budget 2016, the three-year, $75-million Rural Dividend will help rural communities with populations under 25,000 diversify and bolster their economies.
Applications for the first year of funding will be accepted from Apr. 4 to May 31.
“The Rural Dividend will help our region’s communities and organizations diversify their economies and set them up for a bright future,” Bennett said in a press release. “This three-year program is one more example of how our government is giving a voice to small, rural communities.”
Funding of $25 million per year is available in four categories: community capacity building; workforce development; community and economic development; and business-sector development.
Local governments, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations are eligible to apply.
Single applicants can apply for up to $100,000 for community-driven projects and must contribute at least 20 per cent of the total project cost. Partnerships involving more than one eligible applicant can apply for up to $500,000, and must contribute 40 per cent of the total project cost.
Applicant contributions can include in-kind contributions of up to 10 per cent.
A project development funding stream will provide up to $10,000 to help communities with limited capacity build business cases and feasibility assessments to support the development of strong projects and future project applications.
Downloadable application forms, program guidelines, as well as detailed instructions on how to apply are available as of April 4, when the new Rural Dividend website goes live at Gov.bc.ca/ruraldividend
The criteria for the Rural Dividend was designed with input from the Rural Advisory Council, which was formed in March 2015.