The Barkerville Heritage Trust will be able to provide on-site housing to seasonal Barkerville Historic Town and Park staff, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Province.
“The funding provides a boost to the local economy by supporting Barkerville, park licensees and independent business contractors to attract and retain staff at the heritage site,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The Rural Dividend’s special circumstances provision was specifically designed to assist communities undergoing economic hardship, such as those impacted by wildfire.”
The funds will be used to build on-site, seasonal staff accommodations in the Barkerville Historic Town and Park. The project provides a temporary solution to the housing shortage in the area, while work toward a permanent, sustainable housing solution continues.
The project will create future opportunities for revenue and partnerships with the local forestry and mining industry. Barkerville attracts 70,000 visitors annually, and is a key economic driver for the region.
“Barkerville Historic Town and Park, governed by The Barkerville Heritage Trust, is thankful for this critical investment in staff housing,” said Ed Coleman, the trust’s CEO. “A tourism asset of our size, which generates $25 million in regional and provincial economic impacts, relies extensively on a reliable staff housing strategy. This investment provides an immediate opportunity to address a critical seasonal housing need, as we continue to work on the long-term strategy with our partners.”
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25-million-per-year Rural Dividend to 2020-21. The rural dividend is one aspect of government’s rural development mandate, which is committed to making rural communities more resilient.