The federal government is providing $200,000 in Community Development Program funding for green energy initiatives in the North Thompson Valley and elsewhere, M.P. Cathy McLeod announced on Tuesday.
“Our government’s top priority remains the economy, and lessening the impact of invasive species like the mountain pine beetle is necessary to ensure the economic prosperity of British Columbia,” said McLeod. “By turning forest waste into useful products, we can ensure sustainable employment, innovative business ventures and more robust economies for the affected rural regions.”
A total of $80,000 will be used for a green energy opportunity scan for the communities of Clearwater, Barriere, Simpcw First Nation and surrounding areas. The opportunity scan will identify the Valley’s potential for green energy development, such as micro-hydro, wind, geothermal and so on.
The $80,000 also will be used to explore the feasibility of micro-hydro power production on the drinking water systems for the District of Clearwater and the City of Armstrong, and on streams within the traditional territory of Simpcw First Nation.
Another $40,000 will go to the Village of Valemount. The funding will help complete a pilot project business plan to explore business development opportunities using geothermal heat and options for business structures for a municipally owned utility.
“This project was developed following extensive discussions and roundtables with local government and First Nation leaders from across the affected area,” said McLeod. “The discussions focused on the region’s requirements and challenges regarding green energy development.”
Also receiving $40,000 each will be the Village of Slocan and the Cariboo-Chilcotin region for green energy pilot projects.
The three pilot projects are the first phase of a two phase process. Phase two will develop and share information through guidebooks and on-line resources used by other rural communities to identify, understand and develop new opportunities realized out of similar challenges.
Under the Community Development Program, Building Rural and Northern Partnerships, $5.2 million has supported 80 rural community initiatives, leveraging a total project value of $15.6 million to engage community partners and seize opportunities for development, which will help rural and northern Canadians to improve their quality of life.
McLeod, who represents the Kamloops-Thompson-Caribou riding in Ottawa, made the funding announcements on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.