By: The Working Forest Staff
The B.C. government is investing $10 million in a new FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund, as part of its economic recovery plan to create jobs and help communities cope with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund we’re announcing today will create jobs and help protect people and communities from wildfires,” said Premier John Horgan. “As we prepare for another year of potentially challenging summer weather while dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19, our government is working to keep people safe and provide skills training and job opportunities for those who need them.”
StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan provides employment and economic opportunities to support a wide range of projects throughout the province. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development is responsible for economic recovery programs worth more than $100 million. The new FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund is one component of that overall recovery strategy.
“Our government is fully committed to assisting with economic recovery throughout the province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. “This new grant program will help successful applicants complete FireSmart projects that support local jobs and is one more step in helping keep British Columbians safe.”
The FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund will be administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. Funded projects will encourage economic development, reduce wildfire risks, allow people to develop new job skills, and help protect forests and communities from harm.
“B.C.’s economy is performing quite well compared to the rest of Canada, but we know many families and businesses are still struggling,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program will help people throughout the province emerge from the pandemic on a stronger footing while making our communities more resistant to wildfires.”
How it works:
* This program’s eligibility requirements support projects that focus on:
– job creation for priority FireSmart projects;
– job creation for longer-term community wildfire resiliency; and
– development of job skills that will assist with future employment.
* Applications for funding may be made by:
– local governments (municipalities or regional districts);
– First Nations;
– legally incorporated, society-run fire departments; and
– improvement districts that operate a fire protection service.
* Applications must be submitted by March 19.
“Many B.C. communities are looking for opportunities to boost employment and enhance skills training for residents,” said Brian Frenkel, UBCM president. “This program will do both, while also supporting efforts to make our communities more resilient to the threat posed by wildfire. UBCM is pleased to administer this program on behalf of the provincial government.”
More details about the FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund are available on the Union of B.C. Municipalities website: