Seven projects across the Okanagan Shuswap were granted a total of $588,917 through the BC Rural Dividend Program. The funding was announced today by Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“Government is following through on its commitment to help rural communities navigate changes that have impacted local economies, by supporting local business development and creating new partnerships to promote shared prosperity,” Donaldson said. “These rural dividend grants are bringing positive change to rural communities throughout B.C.”
Funds totalling $200,000 were awarded to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) to implement an economic development strategy. Initiatives covered by the strategy include local business development, supporting regional tourism marketing and establishing the Shuswap area as a film location.
The Community Futures Development Corporation of the Shuswap is being awarded $94,670 to assist with developing an Indigenous tourism industry for the communities of Adams Lake, Neskonlith and Splats’in of the Secwepemc Nation.
The District of Sicamous is being awarded $100,000 to develop a business case and feasibility study for a 350-site campground and RV site on the Eagle River near its estuary into Shuswap Lake.
The Neskonlith Indian Band will receive $68,877 to help fund a partnership project with Okanagan College, Salmon Arm Metis Association, Adams Lake Indian Band, Little Shuswap Indian Band and the Splatsin Indian Band to provide early childhood education training.
The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce is being awarded $10,000 to implement phase one of its co-ordinated marketing plan. This will include creating an inventory of available land and providing community and sector investment profiles in print and e-formats.
The Corporation of the District of Summerland is being awarded $100,000 to renovate and redevelop its arts and cultural centre in hopes of creating a cultural hub and teaching business development skills to regional artists, artisans and youth.
The Corporation of the Village of Keremeos is being awarded $15,370 to develop a social media strategy and improve the effectiveness of the municipal website for residents and tourists. The project will include social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The rural dividend encourages economic diversification, innovation, sustainability and collaboration, and recognizes the diverse needs of individual communities.
The funding is part of nearly $8 million in 58 project grants being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations through the BC Rural Dividend Program. Rural dividend grants help fund projects that that aim to stabilize rural economies. Grants can be up to $100,000 each, or up to $500,000 each for partnership projects.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21. The rural dividend is one aspect of government’s rural development mandate, which is committed to making rural communities more resilient.