New funds support B.C. recreation, culture, rural communities

Provincial government pledges $229 million to improve infrastructure, help remote areas

B.C.’s recreational and cultural communities received a financial shot in the arm from Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson Sept. 12 as she announced $229 million for recreation and infrastructure work across B.C.

Victoria is teaming up with Ottawa to invest up to $95 million in the Rural and Northern Communities Program and more than $134 million for the Community, Culture and Recreation Program.

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Robinson said the two programs would help communities build or upgrade community centres, arenas, install better internet and help with transportation networks.

“They bring everybody together to build strong relationships,” she said.

The minister said the Community, Culture and Recreation program also provides funding for trails and spaces for arts and culture.

The funding also goes toward answering the 2015 federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for health and educational facilities for aboriginal communities.

The $95 million Rural and Northern Communities fund aims to assist remote areas.

The goal is to assist in strengthening aboriginal health and education facilities, reliable energy sources, public transit and reliable road, air or marine infrastructure, internet broadband connectivity and assistance for responding to natural disasters and ensuring environmental standards.

Depending on project’s goals and sizes, the percentage of combined federal and provincial funding works on various percentages.

Communities of less than 5,000 will have total costs of projects funded.

The federal funding comes as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, which plans to provide $3.9 billion for B.C. projects over the next 10 years.

“Together with the province, we are investing in infrastructure to strengthen local economies, improve public health and safety, and create greener, more socially inclusive communities where everyone has the chance to succeed,” federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities François-Philippe Champagne said in a news release.

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