Home Business & Economy Municipal & Civic Cullen announces funding for range of livability improvements

Cullen announces funding for range of livability improvements

Water system for Abbotsford | Funding for municipal planning | More for libraries

Wednesday September 14, 2022 | WHISTLER, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Today at the UBCM convention in Whistler, Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen announced a news $62 million contribution to the City of Abbotsford to build a new well and water-treatment system to ensure a reliable, resilient water service for more than 165,000 people in response to growing climate-related threats.

“We’re creating a new, resilient water supply that will help ensure a safe water source during extreme weather events,” said Cullen. “This project will create climate resilience by helping protect people, sustain public health services and keep businesses operating during these ever-increasing climate disasters.”

Upgrades and additions to the Abbotsford drinking water system will mean water reliability and safety for Abbotsford, Mission and the Matsqui First Nation, as well as homes, a regional cancer facility, senior care homes, farms and agricultural processing.

Full news release about the Abbotsford new drinking water system

Helping all municipalities plan better:

Cullen also (re-)announced a $10 million government contribution to municipalities — starting next year — to help fund the data-gathering that is needed to find ways to make communities more livable.

Mitzi Dean

$8 million top-up in library funding:

Cullen is also the Minister responsible for libraries in BC.

Today he reminded delegates at UBCM about a recent announcement (May 2022) of a top up of $8 million toward libraries (as pandemic-related recovery and relief funding) on top of the annual $14 million to libraries for their operations. “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

“A Google search is not research. We need an informed, engaged population,” said Cullen, that knows how to discern between facts and non-fact, information and disinformation.

books, sooke library
Spacious book stacks at the Sooke Library. [Island Social Trends]

“People need to know truth from fiction, fact from noise,” said Cullen. “Literacy is the foundation of our democracy,” he told media afterward. He highlighted that librarians are the curators of the “fire hose of information” that the Internet makes available.

“We are reimagining what libraries do,” Cullen told media after his talk at UBCM.

He noted that libraries have become complex places providing not only book lending but a role in providing “open door” community spaces for gathering, cooling, programs and activities.

September is Literacy Month.

Importance of housing:

Cullen also remarked today about the importance of municipalities more rapidly addressing the housing needs of people across BC. He notes that BC has launched 114,000 affordable housing units, with 35,000 “completed or underway”.

He singularly mentioned the City of Victoria as having fast-tracked the development of affordable housing. However, that approach to housing development has been well underway in Langford for over a decade (where the City has streamlined zoning and building permit processes). Cullen later told media that “no one size fits all” when it comes to how municipalities address their housing challenges.


Cullen feels that the province government has a role to “work with communities to empower them” in housing development. He wants the BC government “to stand in partnership” with municipalities as they find ways to provide more housing, noting the permit process as a key factor requiring attention.

Cullen notes, especially about dealing with the “greatest influx of immigration” (given the displacement of millions of Ukrainians this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine). “That need will continue”.

monk office, 70th

Other government supports:

Today Cullen listed off a number of supports that the BC Government has provided toward more livability for people in this province, including $7 billion into housing, $500 million into mental health supports, $300 million in grants to 280 rural and remote communities, and $150 million for northern community planning.

He reminded about the BC Government issuing “half a billion” to municipalities during the pandemic to help them keep operating (buildings, staff, etc) to continue serving their communities.

Election cycle:

Minister Cullen took a quick poll among municipal leaders in the room at UBCM during his speech. For those planning to run again, he wished them luck. For those wrapping up their period of municipal public service, he thanked them for their service.

He noted that these are times of “intense scrutiny and expectation” for elected leaders.

The upcoming municipal election is on October 15, 2022.

john horgan

===== RELATED:

BC summer reading club keeps kids in the loop (June 27, 2022)

Big crowd for long-awaited Sooke Library opening (June 12, 2022)

BC economic recovery support for local libraries (May 19, 2022)

BC municipalities get active transportation funding boost (August 7, 2021)

Enhanced digital library services in BC during COVID-19 (April 8, 2020)


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mary p brooke
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke is running for a seat on the SD62 board of education in the October 15, 2022 election.

Island Social Trends has developed an archive of news about the west shore of south Vancouver Island since 2008.

Creator, founding editor and publisher: Mary P Brooke, B.Sc, Cert PR.

Island Social Trends was previously West Shore Voice News — archive copies of the weekly WSVN PDF’s are available for purchase. Archive inquiries to news@islandsocialtrends.com