Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing $498,885 to the Village of Port Alice, Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island announced March 12.
“The economy of Port Alice has been struggling since the closure of the Neucel mill,” said Trevena. “These funds will assist the village in its efforts to increase tourism.”
The village will use the funds to complete improvements to the municipally owned marina, including adding power and a new building to provide a food kiosk, washrooms (including showers) and an office for the marina manager. The improved amenities are designed to increase the village’s attractiveness to tourists. The village is well situated for fishing, scuba diving, kayaking and wildlife viewing.
“The special circumstances provision of the rural dividend was specifically designed to assist communities undergoing economic hardship, such as the loss of a primary employer,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The rural dividend is just one aspect of our rural development mandate committed to making rural communities more resilient.”
“This is incredible news for the Village of Port Alice. It opens the door for a tourism aspect that shadows the three-year curtailment of our pulp mill, Neucel Cellulose,” said Mayor Jan Allen. “Our population has decreased in the past three years. Currently, our bank is only open two days a week, and our stores are struggling to keep their doors open. If we build, they will return – to the ‘Gateway of the West Coast’, the incredible gem of the Village of Port Alice.”
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21.