Premier John Horgan speaks to Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Vancouver, Sept. 27, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Rural grant program will be back next year, John Horgan vows

B.C. premier says mill closures are urgent priority

B.C. Premier John Horgan has no second thoughts or apologies for his government’s much-criticized decision to take $25 million from a rural diversification program to assist communities that have lost forest industry jobs.

Speaking to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Friday, Horgan addressed the forest industry crisis that featured a convoy of logging trucks descending on the convention to call for assistance.

The province’s assistance is $69 million in retraining and retirement bridging funds for communities losing sawmills and associated employment, with the “rural dividend” program suspended for a year to help pay for it. Grants pay for tourism facilities and other projects to diversify rural economies.

The program is “not ended, curtailed, it will be back next year,” Horgan said.

Asked by reporters after his speech why money wasn’t taken from a wildfire fund that was significantly under-utilized this year, Horgan said there are other infrastructure funds that are being reviewed to see if they can help.

One of those is water treatment for Williams Lake, which has a Health Canada advisory on the level of manganese in its water supply, he said.

Regarding other applications, for tourism development, trail building and other projects, Horgan compared the demands to the desires of children.

“I’m not at all concerned that people would prefer to have everything right now,” Horgan said. “When I was a kid, I always wanted everything right now too, and I ended up turning out OK.”

RELATED: B.C. communities protest transfer of rural funds

RELATED: B.C. still losing money on legal marijuana sales

The speech contained no new measures, as Horgan recapped his government’s achievements over the past two years. He addressed local government calls for a share of legal cannabis revenues with a joking reference to governments being unable to make money selling it.

B.C. should eventually cover the costs of regulating sales and “make a few bucks selling cannabis,” and a sharing formula will be developed, he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Dairy association wants Okanagan-Shuswap milk supply to flow smoothly

Changes to consumer demand from pandemic have left thousands of litres of B.C. milk being dumped

Enderby’s Starlight drive-in theatre plans to open amid COVID-19

The theatre is making a number of operational changes to further enable social distancing

4 inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre granted early release due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

Our History in Pictures: National Café unveiled

You may know this address as Monashees, but in 1947, it was… Continue reading

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

Mitchell’s Musings: Some questions to ponder while busy self-isolating

COVID-19 has columnist Glenn Mitchell looking for answers

Gratitude parade offers thanks and support to Salmon Arm’s essential workers

Outing organized by Shuswap’s Dr’Agonize dragon boat team

Accused’s house arrest conditions no different than what residents self-isolating face: Kamloops judge

A Kamloops woman’s strict house arrest terms are no more onerous than self-isolation experienced by many, judge said

Princeton woman sits out pandemic in ‘cheese heaven’

‘We are surrounded here by fruit orchards and the blossom are starting.’

B.C. artist erects 15-foot statue and names it COVID

Decades of collecting spare parts culminated in folk art towering over a country road

Hitchcock classic a parable for our times

‘You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat’

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Most Read