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.

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

Just Posted

WildSafe program wraps up quiet season for District of Kent, Harrison

Black bears biggest source of calls in the FVRD

Upper Fraser RCMP joins Twitter

Twitter feed once limited to Chilliwack expands

Week of snow storms finally fades

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Time’s running out for Montreal Alumni tickets in Hope

Habs will face off against Hope hockey players on Saturday afternoon

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

WATCH: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

VIDEO: Langley woman without a home after houseboat sinks during snowy weather

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the Grant’s Landing resident replace her possessions

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read