Every municipality and regional district in B.C. will get a share of $1-billion in grants from the provincial government to build infrastructure and amenities.
Provincial officials said this comes as B.C. has seen unprecedented population growth.
“B.C.’s strong economy and natural beauty continue to attract people from across Canada and around the world. Cities and towns need support to build thriving, livable communities,” said Premier David Eby.
“The new Growing Communities Fund will help local municipalities improve roads, build more arenas and water facilities, and improve recreation options for families.”
Each of B.C.’s 188 regional districts and municipalities will get a piece of this $1-billion pie, which can be used for projects such as recreation facilities, parks and water-treatment plants, among others.
The Growing Communities Fund will be doled out by the end of March, paid for by money from a surplus shown in the second quarter financial report.
Officials said this will help communities prepare for future growth and support the construction of new homes.
“Addressing B.C.’s housing crisis requires a variety of responses, including increasing the supply of available housing which, in many communities in B.C., requires investments in community infrastructure and amenities,” said Anne Kang, Municipal Affairs Minister.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates a cross-government co-operation to address the unique aspects of the housing crisis in each community, ensuring they can thrive into the future.”
The grants will complement existing funding for projects such as sewer, water and rec facilities.
“Today’s announcement provides the largest single provincial investment in communities in our province’s history,” said Jen Ford, UBCM president.
“This unprecedented transfer will help meet the needs of growing populations through the expansion of facilities and replacement of ageing infrastructure. It will also support climate adaptation to sustain service delivery and safeguard residents from the risks of extreme weather.”