Premier Christy Clark sought to rebuild bridges with local governments Friday, unleashing a raft of small but strategically targeted grants to help rural, small and medium communities.
In a speech strikingly different from last year, when she criticized local governments for paying their senior staff too much, the premier told delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention that after years of belt-tightening it was time to loosen the purse strings. But just a bit.
Clark used her annual speech to the UBCM to promise more cost-shared infrastructure funding to medium and small communities, a new “rural dividend” fund to help the smallest communities retool their economies, and more money for wildfire prevention and improved access to high-speed Internet. …
The modest bag of goodies includes $45 million more for the Small Communities Fund, a part of the federal government’s New Building Canada Fund. Ottawa will also contribute $45 million. Last year B.C. and Ottawa each put $64 million into the program, approving projects in 55 communities. The money is available for communities of 100,000 population or less..
No comments (at least not reported) on the results of the referendum she imposed on this region – and certainly no proposals to address the consequences. Nor any recognition of the affordable housing crisis – the single biggest issue in this city, and one that impacts the provincial economy.
Conclusion: We – at least those in the urban centre of this region – don’t much matter.
It may be that senior governments simply don’t know what do about the housing dilemma, and they certainly don’t want to threaten either the flow of wealth pouring in, the value accumulated by existing homeowners or their belief that the market is the more effective regulator.
Still, how can the City of Vancouver MLAs have nothing to say about the two biggest issues that are roiling their constituencies? Nothing to say about transportation and housing affordability
That can’t last.