Merritt residents to benefit from rural development supports

The province offers a series of rural development grants in the Nicola Valley to support economic development and diversification.

This is the next phase of the StrongerBC economic plan and continued recovery efforts in Merritt following the November 2021 floods.

“The people of Merritt have been through a lot over the past year and they know how important resuming business is to rebuilding the community,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural and Regional Development. “Merritt has shown both courage and creativity in his recovery, and I want to thank everyone at Merritt who continues to work so hard to rebuild a vibrant and resilient community. Our government, through our StrongerBC Economic Plan, will always be there to help communities build strong, vibrant and diverse economies in rural British Columbia.

The government is providing a $1 million rural development grant to the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association to build a community slaughterhouse in the Merritt area that will provide meat processing and cutting and packaging services to farmers and local breeders.

“This project represents significant employment and economic opportunities for the region, while ensuring ranches, packers and local businesses are part of a strong and resilient BC food system,” said Lana. Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “With recent changes to BC’s meat licensing system and investments in facilities like the Nicola Valley Community Slaughterhouse, this revitalization of the small-scale meat industry is making it easier to produce, buying and selling BC meat in our rural communities and helps build our food security and food resilience.

The abattoir will be a government-licensed and inspected facility offering a full range of red meat processing services. This facility will create jobs, increase the availability of local products and strengthen food security in the region. As local producers are affected by a lack of processing capacity, this slaughterhouse will provide new opportunities for meat processing and allow local farmers and ranchers to expand their businesses and create greater opportunities to maximize profits. .

“My partner and I moved to the Nicola Valley in 2016, aiming to expand our business to meet the growing demand for well-bred local meat. But we soon found that the processors we relied on were no unable to keep up with our production and we had to reduce the business instead of expanding it,” said Julia Smith, pork and beef producer at Merritt and executive director of the Small-scale Meat Producers Association. “We were close to giving up. But now we’re ready to continue because this facility will allow us and other local family farms and ranches to grow and prosper while providing greater community food security.

The province is also providing a $1 million rural development grant to the Scw’exmx Tribal Council toward Gateway 286 in Merritt. Gateway 286 is a commercial and tourism development. Funding will go towards fire protection infrastructure to help advance this multi-phase economic asset to the region.

“After an incredible year of fires, floods and pandemic, we salute the Government of British Columbia’s $1 million grant that will strengthen our rural community, support well-paying jobs and much-needed economic development,” said Terrence (Lee) Spahan, director. , Spayum Holdings LP and Scw’exmx Tribal Council. “The Gateway 286 project is a 30+ year vision of past and present Indigenous leaders in Nicola Valley and these funds will bring our business and tourism development one step closer to reality. This project will enhance the experience of the traveling public by providing much-needed services, and it will provide well-paying jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of the Nicola Valley.

Additionally, the Town of Merritt is receiving an Economic Recovery Grant for communities that have been impacted by flooding. A $500,000 grant has been awarded to the Town of Merritt to carry out economic development projects and initiatives to support long-term economic recovery, including sustainable tourism and attracting businesses and businesses. investments. This is in addition to provincial funding of $329,000 for the Town of Merritt to update flood hazard mapping and develop new flood mitigation plans.

The StrongerBC Economic Plan moves British Columbia forward by tackling today’s challenges while building an economy that works for everyone.

The plan builds on British Columbia’s strong economic recovery and aims to address two long-standing challenges – inequality and climate change – by closing the skills gap, building resilient communities and helping businesses and people to make the transition to clean energy solutions. The plan sets out two main goals for the province – inclusive growth and clean growth – and proposes six missions to keep British Columbia on track.

Learn more:

Learn more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan

Learn more about the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association: https://smallscalemeat.ca/about-us/

About Keneth T. Graves

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