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B.C. takes action to strengthen rural Island, coastal economies

April 12, 2024 at 3:34 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations along the west coast and Vancouver Island are receiving funding to promote economic diversification, clean-economy opportunities and infrastructure development.

“People in rural areas know their communities better than anyone else, and that’s why it’s so exciting to see these projects that they have envisioned going forward,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We’re working with community leaders in every corner of our province to build thriving, sustainable economies for generations to come.”

The Government of B.C. is investing as much as $33 million across rural areas of the province for the second intake of the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP). Communities throughout the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities will be receiving up to nearly $13 million in funding for 41 approved projects from REDIP to help strengthen local economies.

Located in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, one project sees the Cowichan Green Community Society receiving nearly $500,000 to complete construction of the Cowichan Farm and Food Hub Kitchen (The Food Hub). The Food Hub will include a hazard analysis critical control points-certified commercial kitchen, warehouse space, teaching facility, storage, offices, and food aggregation and distribution centre. The Food Hub will also provide shared access for production and training in food processing, culinary arts, new product development and Indigenous and culturally diverse food preservation techniques.

“We have been working on this project since 2019 and have faced numerous delays, including supply-chain issues, COVID, permits, and increased expenses,” said Judy Stafford, executive director, Cowichan Green Community Society. “We are thrilled to receive this funding that gets us successfully to the finish line, and I would like to thank all our community partners.”

In its first two years, REDIP will see as much as $99 million invested in more than 300 projects throughout rural B.C. Applications for the third intake of REDIP are expected to open in July 2024 and remain open until the end of October 2024.

Building resilient economies is part of the Province’s work through the StrongerBC Economic Plan to build a strong and sustainable economy through clean and inclusive growth.

Quote:

Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development –

“In smaller communities, diversifying economies is much easier with a little help from partners. Investing in local capacity and infrastructure helps build resilient, sustainable local economies. These locally led projects will bring new opportunities and new or expanded industries, helping people and communities flourish, and helping keep rural economies healthy for generations.”

Quick Facts:

  • Communities can receive REDIP funding through three streams:
    • Economic diversification – Projects that plan or implement programs, services and infrastructure to support economic development and diversification in communities with populations of 25,000 or less (maximum funding: $1 million).
    • Economic capacity – Projects that build local capacity and improve the ability to support economic development and diversification in communities with populations of 2,500 or fewer (maximum funding: $100,000).
    • Forest impact transition – Projects that support economic recovery and diversification in affected forest-dependent communities (maximum funding: $500,000).

Learn More:

To learn about the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program, visit: https://gov.bc.ca/redip

Learn about the StrongerBC Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan

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