By John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
Over the last week, we reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen local economies, make communities safer, invest in people, and make life more affordable for B.C. families.
Our government met with local leaders from around British Columbia at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention. We’re working together, to tackle the challenges facing people every day, and make life better for people in communities in every part of B.C.
Communities have been waiting too long for help building the arenas, community centres, and transit and energy infrastructure they need. Our government is working with the federal government to invest up to $95 million under the Rural and Northern Communities Program and more than $134 million under the Community, Culture and Recreation Program for communities in every part of the province.
The two new infrastructure programs will strengthen local economies, improve public health and safety, and create more sustainable and inclusive communities where everyone has the chance to succeed.
The number and severity of wildfires in B.C. has increased significantly in recent years. To help reduce wildfires risks in communities around B.C., our government announced a new Community Resiliency Investment Program that will provide up to $50 million over the next three years to local governments and First Nations.
Parents are also struggling to find quality child care that they can afford. Local governments know their communities best and have strong relationships with public-sector organizations that mean they can use existing public space – such as school grounds – to create new licensed child care spaces quickly. That’s why our government announced two new partnerships with UBCM that will help municipalities and regional districts create more spaces that meet the needs of local families.
That is on top of a new expanded child care benefit that is offering more support to more people – with 60,000 families now able to get help with the cost of child care for the first time. That means that more than 80,000 low and middle-income families may save up to $1,250 a month per child. It’s all part of our plan to make child care more affordable and available, for more families.
There is a housing affordability crisis in communities all over B.C. It is hurting owners and renters. It is hurting businesses who need workers. It is forcing people out of our communities.
Our government is making the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history. We are taking action with our 30-point housing plan. We’re tackling demand, building supply, and providing security for renters.
Working with local governments, we are building 2,000 supportive modular homes for people experiencing homelessness in 22 communities around B.C. and working with the private sector, non-profits and municipalities to create more homes for middle-income families.
There is much more to do. The problems facing B.C. communities didn’t appear overnight, and they won’t be fixed overnight.
We’re committed to working together to make life more affordable, improve the services people count on and create good jobs and a strong sustainable economy.
We’re going to keep working hard, in partnership with local governments, to build a better future for people in every community in B.C.