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.

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake ferry labour dispute ends with ratified agreement

The deal was approved by 83 per cent of members

November in West Kootenay saw only third of normal precipitation

Stalled weather system lingered over region

Police watchdog exonerates RCMP in Bonnington death

Officer’s shots were justified, report says

LETTER: Reflections on democracy and community from former Green party candidate

Abra Brynne ran in the 2019 federal election to be Kootenay-Columbia’s MP

Basin economic snapshot shows Kootenay a mixed bag

State of the Basin report shows economic recovery from recession a slow go

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Thieving gun-toting Santa breaks into Princeton restaurant, makes icing sugar sandwich

The suspect allegedly made a sandwich of icing sugar and ham

Infants should be tested for autism if older siblings are diagnosed, Canadian study suggests

Blood test for infants with sibling who’s been diagnosed would get information to families earlier

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Two accidents block Hwy 3 east of Christina Lake

Fire chief: pregnant female in vehicle that rolled off the road was headed to Trail to have her baby

Most Read