Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice was at Orchard Park in Kelowna on May 10 to announce that Mountain Equipment Co-op is the province’s newest Partner in Preparedness. (Karissa Gall photo)

MLA Jennifer Rice proud of NDP commitment to Prince Rupert

Since the pulp mill, industry benefits have been slow to flow back, leaving aging infrastructure

Dear Editor,

As the MLA for the North Coast and a proud Rupertite who came for two years – and has stayed nearly 20, I have been listening to, advocating for and working with local governments and community organizations to make life better for people. We all want our community to thrive.

Since the shuttering of the pulp mill, other industry benefits have been slow to flow back to the region, leaving communities with aging infrastructure that doesn’t meet our needs or the needs of new industry. Communities like ours need help to upgrade the basics such as providing safe, clean drinking water and maintaining paved, well-lit streets.

As well as showcasing our natural beauty and cultural vibrancy, investments in amenities people have come to expect from a community are needed to create a welcoming space for newcomers.

Yes, it is true that Prince Rupert has received over $8 million in funding from our government’s Northern Planning and Capital Grant that I had the pleasure to announce with Premier John Horgan in February. To put that amount of funding into perspective that’s about the equivalent of one quarter of Prince Rupert’s annual budget!

Your BC NDP government has been listening to mayors and other community leaders about the need for infrastructure and planning funding to prepare communities for development opportunities.

The $8.12 million provided to Prince Rupert is part of an unprecedented $100 million grant to the four regional districts and their 22 municipalities in the Northwest.

The North Coast Regional District received $1.7 million and the District of Port Edward received over $2 million. Each local government is able to use the grant for their individual needs now or down the road and can leverage this funding with other government grants to maximize even more value.

Attracting and retaining a growing Port industry workforce, small businesses, much-needed health care providers and teachers is increasingly difficult when our downtown resembles a toothless smile (Thanks to John Farrell for that description) and we lack basic services.

Sustainable development of the north is a priority for me and the BC NDP government.

That’s why we’re also upgrading Prince Rupert schools and playgrounds and when SD52 has completed their groundwork we will make good on our election promise to replace the Prince Rupert Middle School. Altogether these upgrades, playgrounds as well as an increase to the annual facilities grant we’ve invested nearly $3.5 million into Rupert schools.

We’ve also been improving road safety on McBride, 2nd and 3rd ave. West with enhanced lighting, upgraded poles and signage.

We provided $225 thousands of funding for the recently-completed tsunami/flood project.

Ecotrust Canada was awarded $100,000 for the North Coast Innovation Lab to build on Re:Design Rupert and implement community-driven ideas to help build a vibrant local economy.

The recent opening of the Crow’s Nest – 36 units of housing on Park Ave. for the homeless and those at risk for homelessness is our rapid response to a critical crisis.

Your government is making record investments in housing for Seniors including building 8 Seniors units in Port Edward, First Nations including $16 million for Lax Kw’aalams housing projects on and off reserve and taking a drive around town, you’ll see more seniors, low- and middle-income family homes completed or under construction.

We continue to provide grants for many important community assets like the Northern BC museum, Arts council, the Friendship and Transition Houses and Marine Search and Rescue.

As of next month, it will have been nearly two years since the BC NDP formed government. We’ve completed over three quarters of our election promises and provided millions of dollars of investment into Prince Rupert and the North Coast.

I’ve worked hard, effectively and with enthusiasm for Prince Rupert and North Coast communities. Increasingly, I feel even more inspired to do my part as many of you do to make life better and see Prince Rupert thrive.

Yours in Service,

Jennifer Rice, MLA North Coast

The Northern View

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