The villages of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton have all been successful in their applications for project development grants from the new provincial Rural Dividend Fund.
The fund was announced in the February provincial budget, and applications for the first intake of funding were accepted between the beginning of April and the end of May. While rural governments were able to apply for up to $100,000 in funding for community-driven projects that would increase capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business sector development, they could also apply for up to $10,000 to help them develop projects to diversify and strengthen their economies.
Ashcroft received $9,975, which will go towards plans to overhaul and rewrite the village’s official community plan and zoning and subdivision development bylaws. “This will apply to any vacant land, and is not limited to village property,” says Ashcroft chief administrative officer Michelle Allen. The OCP and bylaws, which were last rewritten in 2005, will play a key role in shaping development of the land on the Mesa, which makes up the bulk of the property which the village owns.
“Several legislative changes have come into effect [since 2005] that aren’t currently reflected in the OCP and bylaws,” says Allen. “And the wants and needs of residents have changed. Perhaps a standard 60’ by 100’ lot isn’t what people want. There are a lot of housing options out there now, not just single-family, multi-family, and duplexes.” She points to the laneway homes that are now being constructed in Vancouver, allowing property owners to build a second house on their lot, and notes that this option is just one that could be considered in any change to the current bylaws.
Keir Gervais, CAO of Cache Creek, says that they will be using their $10,000 grant to do a feasibility assessment of the landfill gas utilization. “It will give us an opportunity to explore the potential utilization of the gas being generated at the landfill.”
June 2015 saw the official opening of a landfill gas utilization plant at the Cache Creek landfill, which traps gas that is naturally generated by the landfill process. The plant generates electricity at a rate of 4.8 megawatts—enough to power more than 2,500 typical households—and sells it to BC Hydro.
Gervais says that the feasibility assessment will allow the village to examine what the options for the plant are and what resources will be required. “The next steps after that would depend on what the results of the study are.”
Clinton will be using its $10,000 grant, along with other funding it has received, to do a marketing plan for the community. CAO Tom Dall says that an expression of interest, which closed on August 15, will allow the village to find a marketing firm that will work with them to identify gaps that need to be targeted.
“Is there a business gap, or do we need more residential properties?” he asks. “The target is to have [the plan] done by the end of the year, and then start to prioritize what gets identified as the community’s needs and wants.
“It will enable us to market the community to investors, and to diversify, by saying ‘These are the needs and gaps; can you fill them?’”
A total of 47 project development applications, out of 62 applications received, were approved in the first intake of funding. A second intake takes place from October 3 to 31.