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

Vees fall to Clippers by 4-1

It was a bit of a feeling out process through the opening 20 minutes between two teams

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Summerland once had college campus

From 1906 to 1915, Summerland’s Okanagan College operated in the community

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Thrash Wrestling hosts All the Rage international match tonight

Local wrestlers take on stars of Doutonbori Pro Wrestling from Osaka, Japan.

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Okanagan Lotto 649 ticket matches five of six numbers and bonus

Ticket in Saturday’s draw bought in Vernon and is worth nearly $32,000

Letter: Candidates and social issues

Reader feels only Cannings and NDP have plans for social issues

PET OF THE WEEK: Moose still needs a home

Critteraid cat wants a nice, quiet environment

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Most Read