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MLA Babchuk announces funding for arts and emergency support services

Budget 2022 provides $2.1 billion to support the recovery of communities
North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. (Photo supplied)

More people across the North Island will benefit from improved arts spaces and facilities thanks to the BC New Democrat government’s continued support of artists throughout B.C.

“Artists bring so much to our communities, entertaining and inspiring both visitors and year-round residents,” says Michele Babchuk, MLA for the North Island. “With this infrastructure funding for new equipment, we’re supporting artists of all ages and the long-term success of our local arts scene.”

Two local arts organizations are receiving Arts Infrastructure grants to purchase new specialized equipment. The BC Movement Arts Society in Sointula will receive $4,800 and the Gate House Theatre Community Association in Port McNeill will receive $17,650.

Through the Arts Infrastructure Program a total of 84 arts and cultural organizations will share in $4 million in grant funding. The program provides grants to arts and cultural organizations to develop and enhance spaces that support B.C.’s arts and cultural practitioners. Eligible activities include planning and consultation and capital improvements, such as improving safety features; increasing accessibility; or purchasing specialized equipment.

In April, the BC Arts Council introduced its Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024 which marked a shift in focus in the way the council provides funding to respond to calls to action for reconciliation, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

In alignment with these commitments, 50 per cent of grants in this recent round of Arts infrastructure funding was distributed to organizations from rural or remote communities or those led by or rooted in Indigenous and equity-deserving communities.

In other news, Babchuk also noted that new funding for Emergency Support Services (ESS) will help keep people safe in the event of an emergency. More than 50 First Nations and local governments will receive a share of more than $1.9 million towards local emergency preparedness.

“It is especially vital that rural and remote communities are prepared for emergencies,” says Babchuk. “Whether it’s recruiting volunteers, purchasing equipment, or getting the word out, this funding will support communities so they can support people. I want to extend my thanks to everyone who is involved in this work to keep people safe.”

Several local governments and First Nations will be receiving funding for projects as follows:

Strathcona Regional District (with Campbell River, Ehattesaht First Nation, Homalco First Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, Klahoose First Nation, Nuchatlaht First Nation, Gold River, Sayward, Tahsis, Zeballos, We Wai Kai Nation, Wei Wai Kum First Nation, Squamish) - Group Lodging Capacity Enhancements – $165,130;

Dzawadaenuxw First Nation – Emergency Kit Preparedness – $25,000;

Mount Waddington Regional District – Community Capacity – $25,000;

Alert Bay – Generator and Fuel Storage - $14,192.60; and

Port Alice – ESS Laptops – $5,000.

This funding will support communities to build local capacity now to provide ESS when a disaster strikes. Governments will use funding for volunteer recruitment, retention and training, and the purchase of equipment.

Budget 2022 provides $2.1 billion to support the recovery of communities to build back better from recent disasters, and to strengthen defences to make sure people and communities across B.C. are protected from future disasters.

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