PRINCE GEORGE – The Province is once again significantly increasingunconditional grants to local governments, providing more than $12.6 million this year alone to communities in northern B.C., Premier Gordon Campbell announced in his address to the North Central Municipal Association convention.

?Increasing these grants is part of our government?s continuing commitment to help British Columbia?s smaller communities and regional districts provide important services to residents,? said Premier Campbell. ?We are fulfilling our commitment to double the unconditional grants program by 2009, and helping communities across British Columbia put their ideas and vision into action, for the benefit of residents.?

The grants to the north Central region are an increase of nearly $1.9 million over last year?s total. The unconditional grants announced today are: Small Community Grants: More than $11.5 million for small and medium-sized area municipalities within the North Central Municipal Association to fund local and basic services. The grant allocation is based on a formula with three elements: basic funding for all municipalities with a population of less than 15,000, population-based funding, and property assessment-based funding. Regional District Grants: The seven regional districts within the North Central Municipal Association will receive a total of more than $1 million in 2008.

Over the last three years, the Province has added $11.2 million in new funding for Small Community and Regional District Grants for the North Central region to help support the daily operations of local governments.