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B.C. promises $13M for rural Vancouver Island infrastructure projects

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The province says it’s sending nearly $13 million to communities across Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast to help with infrastructure projects and other business initiatives.

The funding is coming from B.C.’s Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) and will go to 41 projects on the Island and along the coast.

One of the projects that’s receiving a $500,000 boost from the province is the Cowichan Farm and Food Hub Kitchen.

The half-a-million dollar boost will help the Cowichan Green Community Society finish construction of its new food hub, which will not only produce food, but also provide training in food processing, culinary arts, development of new food products, and Indigenous and culturally diverse food preservation techniques.

Once completed, the Cowichan Farm and Food Hub Kitchen will feature a teaching facility, warehouse space, storage space, offices, a food aggregation and distribution centre – and a hazard analysis critical control points-certified commercial kitchen.

Judy Stafford, executive director of the Cowichan Green Community Society, says the project has been in the works for years.

“We have been working on this project since 2019 and have faced numerous delays, including supply-chain issues, COVID, permits, and increased expenses,” she said in a release Friday.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding that gets us successfully to the finish line, and I would like to thank all our community partners,” she said.

Other big-ticket items that are receiving funding through REDIP this year include a $1-million expansion to the Tseshaht First Nation for infrastructure designs of its Somass Business Park, and a   $1-million boost to help build theTla-o-qui-aht First Nation Economic Development Corporation build its Calm Waters Travel Center.

The Canadian Amateur Rowing Association is also receiving $500,000 to help build a new National Training Centre and Home for Canadian Rowing in the Cowichan Valley.

The full list of REDIP recipients can be found on the Province of B.C. website.

“People in rural areas know their communities better than anyone else, and that’s why it’s so exciting to see these projects that they have envisioned going forward,” said B.C. Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey on Friday.

“We’re working with community leaders in every corner of our province to build thriving, sustainable economies for generations to come.”

SEE ALSO: Feds promise $33.5M to fast track housing on Vancouver Island

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