Saturday, May 17, 2014

Province to make Planning Grant Funding available to Northwest communities

Friday was announcement day for the Provincial Government, as Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development outlined details regarding a pair of grant funding programs to be made available to communities across the Northwest.

Each of the programs that were outlined on Friday will provide up to 500,000 dollars to participating communities. Offering assistance for local government to update their bylaws and official community plans.

In addition, funding will be made available so that communities can review and assess their local infrastructure needs, in order to prepare for LNG developments and industrial expansion.

The program grants as reviewed on Friday, touched on many topics that the Mayor and Council have discussed in recent months, particularly when it comes to the prospect of increased economic development and the impact that it may have on the community.

The announcement made in Terrace on Friday, outlined the scope of the two programs.

“Our government is committed to ensuring local communities realize all opportunities afforded by major industrial developments. Preparing for economic growth is a good challenge to have - and these grants will augment the existing tools available to communities to ensure they develop and update community plans to build vibrant, sustainable communities well into the future.”-- Minister Coralee Oakes, outlining the Province of British Columbia's funding projects for the Northwest.

On the North Coast, the grants will be made available to three local governments,  City of Prince Rupert, District of Port Edward, Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District.

Funding will also be available for the City of Terrace and District of Kitimat and Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.

The Asset Management Capacity Building Grant-- will support the review of infrastructure capacity (water, sewer, drainage, local roads) and assist communities in determining what additional services are needed for their specific growth needs.

The Community Land-Use Planning Grant-- will assist local governments to do the work required so that their land use bylaws, policies and plans align with the needs for industrial expansion and maintain community health and quality of life for existing residents.  Some items that the program may focus on are updating local official community plans or zoning bylaws or conducting new studies for targeted areas such as housing affordability.

You can review the backgrounder on the planning grants from the BC Government website.

And while the twin grants of 500,000 dollars will no doubt  make for some welcome funding.

One imagines that the various municipal and regional governments of the region will be looking for a more substantial delivery of funding, once those priorities and infrastructure concerns have been highlighted for the Province.

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