It was like Christmas in November for municipalities throughout the province as the B.C. government distributed more than $16 million in lieu of municipal property taxes.
Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims, the ministry responsible for the distribution of funds on behalf of the provincial government, was in the West Kootenay this week to not only meet with municipalities but to promote the government’s commitment to connecting the province.
“The BC Government has a strong commitment to connectivity in making sure there is internet available remote communities and how to help small and medium sized businesses connect and grow jobs,” Sims said during a stop in Nelson.
Sims, elected to the B.C. Legislature as the MLA for Surrey-Panorama, toured Service BC offices in Nelson and Trail as well as other niche business operations throughout the Tri-Cities, including Castlegar.
The former president of the BC Teachers’ Federation said supplying functional internet is a must as the province moves into the 21st century.
“New technology is the railway of today,” Sims said. “Having a good infrastructure moves services and is a way to grow businesses throughout the province.”
Sims, seeing first hand at how Service BC offices connect with the public, said tourism can also benefit from the government’s plan.
“Tourists travel with IPads, smart phones and computers to help them plan their trips so good connectivity is a foundation of encouraging more tourists to travel in our province,” she said.
Following time in Castlegar, Sims concluded the tour through the West Kootenay Thursday in Trail, visiting many of the technology companies in the area.
“We want to remove barriers and grow jobs, whether their small or medium,” said Sims.
Grants-in-lieu of property taxes are distributed every November and reimburse local B.C. municipalities for the services they provide to the public and their support of public infrastructure, such as parks, municipally run sewers, roads and fire protection.