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

Abbotsford’s Buttar, Kahlon named to all-rookie team

Cascades first year players earn U Sports nods after stellar debut seasons

Carol Young, an artist who fought for timely cancer treatment in Abbotsford, dies before first solo show

B.C. Haida artist’s exhibit to open Saturday at downtown Seattle gallery

Paramedics respond to two-car crash in Abbotsford

Sedan and SUV collided just after 10 a.m. on Ash Street

Abbotsford opera singer to perform in Vancouver production

Lauren Solomon plays role in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Mariposa

KMS Tools celebrating grand opening in Abbotsford

New location on McConnell Road, right next to Costco

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Most Read