MLA Michele Babchuck is hopeful the North Island will soon become a safer and more enjoyable place to live, thanks to new investments coming to the area.

Over the past week, it’s been announced that the region will see a number of provincial grants aimed to address economic development and recovery, digital and physical infrastructure, and environmental concerns.

“People in the North Island have weathered some significant challenges over the past few years,” MLA Babchuk says.

“The landscape of our local economies is changing, and we’re there to support people through that change. With these investments, we’re increasing opportunities for economic diversification, making sure we rebound from the pandemic quickly, and taking care of our environment.”

Babchuk says the grants, totalling over $7.5 million, are from multiple ministries and programs, all aiming to make the North Island a safer, more prosperous and more enjoyable place to live as we recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These investments include:

  • Over $2.5 million from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development for 23 different small infrastructure projects to keep backcountry areas safe and accessible across the riding
  • Over $4 million from the Connecting BC Fund bringing high-speed internet to Quadra Island, Cortes Island, and Zeballos and Ehatisaht
  • $170,000 in 2 grants for species conservation and ecosystem restoration in Campbell River and on the Cluxewe River
  • Numerous grants supporting arts organizations on Sointula, Cortes Island, Quadra Island, Alert Bay and Campbell River
  • Nearly $700,000 for tourism-dependent communities to welcome visitors back when safe to do so in Port Alice and Port Hardy
  • Direct support for bus services that serve all of Vancouver Island, including Waivin’ Flags on the North Island
  • $360,000 for the Campbell River Airport to sustain operations during the remainder of the pandemic

Babchuk notes that many of these grants are part of the StrongerBC: Economic Recovery Plan.

“It’s great to see communities across the North Island are being supported, from the Campbell River Airport, to high-speed internet on the Discovery Islands and West Coast, to a new kayak launch and picnic route in Port Alice,” she adds.