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City, regional district to get share of $1B in infrastructure grants

Premier Eby announced the funding, to be divided among all B.C. municipalities and regional districts, on Friday.
City crews work to repair a watermain break on Fifth Avenue, between Queensway and Ontario Street in a Citizen file photo.

The City of Prince George and Regional District of Fraser-Fort George will be getting a share of $1 billion in provincial grants to support infrastructure projects.

Premier David Eby announced the creation of the Growing Communities Fund on Friday morning in Surrey. The one-time, billion-dollar fund will be divided among all 188 B.C. municipalities and regional districts to address their need for community infrastructure and amenities, such as as recreation facilities, roads, parks, water-treatment plants, etc.

“We are pleased to see the province supporting local governments with additional resources to invest in infrastructure,” Regional District of Fraser-Fort George chairperson Lara Beckett said in an email. “We look forward to learning more and understanding what the process is to access the funds and how much the RDFFG may be eligible to receive.”

Municipalities and regional districts will be informed by the end of March what their portion of the fund will be. The money is being provided out of the provincial government surplus shown in the provincial government’s second quarter financial report.

"B.C.'s strong economy and natural beauty continue to attract people from across Canada and around the world. Cities and towns need support to build thriving, livable communities," Eby said. "The new Growing Communities Fund will help local municipalities improve roads, build more arenas and water facilities, and improve recreation options for families."

Local governments across B.C., including Prince George, have expressed the need for additional funding to help them meet their infrastructure needs, according to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).

"Today's announcement provides the largest single provincial investment in communities in our province's history," UBCM president Jen Ford said. "This unprecedented transfer will help meet the needs of growing populations through the expansion of facilities and replacement of aging infrastructure.”

The City of Prince George did not return the Citizen's request for comment as of Friday morning.