BC Rural Dividend grants support small communities

McBRIDE – Under the BC Rural Dividend, the provincial government is providing $10,000 in project development funds to the Village of McBride, MLA Shirley Bond announced today.

McBride has indicated it will use the grant to support the development of a feasibility study to determine the appropriate use for a 15000 square foot facility. They are looking for community ideas and best practices for economic diversification.

This is one of 47 successful project development grants, totalling over $464,000, that are being awarded to eligible communities. The grants will assist rural communities to build business cases and feasibility assessments to support the development of strong project applications to the three-year, $75-million, BC Rural Dividend.

As committed during the September 2015 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention and in Balanced Budget 2016, the BC Rural Dividend helps rural communities with populations under 25,000 to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies, making them more attractive places to live and work.

Launched April 1, 2016, the first application intake window closed May 31, 2016. A total of 180 applications were received from a cross-section of communities, not-for-profit associations and First Nations from around the province. A second application intake will run from Oct. 3 to 31, 2016.

Project development funding applications, for up to $10,000 each, were reviewed on an accelerated timeline. Decisions on other categories of applications are expected in September 2016.

Under the guidelines of the BC Rural Dividend, single applicants can apply for up to $100,000 for community-driven projects and must contribute at least 20% of the total project cost. Applicants representing partnerships can apply for up to $500,000 and must contribute 40% of the total project cost.

Funding of $25 million per year, over the next three years, is available in four categories: community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business sector development.

MLA Shirley Bond, Prince George-Valemount –

“The Rural Dividend was created to support small communities, many of which are in transition. I am glad to see that McBride was successful in the first round of funding and I am hopeful that the work done will find a feasible and sustainable solution for the use of a large community building. It is key that rural communities look for innovative ways to diversify and strengthen their economies.”