Our government’s new rural economic development strategy is supporting rural communities, and adding to the investments we made in rural B.C. in Balanced Budget 2017.
Targeted initiatives include $40 million to expand and enhance high-speed Internet and an extension of the $25-million Rural Dividend Fund to reinvigorate and diversify more local economies. These will ensure British Columbians in all regions of the province have the opportunity for well-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community.
Communities in my riding like Cache Creek, which recently received $32,000, and Logan Lake, which received $100,000, have been supported by the Rural Dividend Fund. I’m pleased to say that this recent extension of the fund means ongoing support for our economy here at home.
The province is also providing $10 million to support new land-management initiatives, including range-fencing repairs and invasive plant management. An additional $4 million over two years will be invested to help keep livestock safe and businesses thriving. We also introduced rebates up to $3,500 so small ranchers can purchase equipment to enhance food safety and food traceability protocols.
As your MLA, I know how important the forestry sector is for our regional economy.
That’s why we established a special envoy to the United States on softwood lumber who has been reinforcing that a stable, predictable lumber supply is good for workers and the economy on both sides of the border.
Additionally, we are supporting this sector with $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia
Our government has taken practical steps to develop our regional economy and secure jobs, growth, and prosperity for our communities in the future.