Happy 2024, Burnaby-Deer Lake!
2023 has been an extraordinary year for our neighbourhood, and our province as a whole. Since becoming the Minister of Municipal Affairs over a year ago, I’ve not only been busy working in improving life in Burnaby as an MLA, but I’ve also been working endlessly with municipal governments to ensure that communities across British Columbia remain vibrant and healthy. With 2024 now in full swing, it’s important that we reflect back on the major milestones and challenges we faced together, so that we can work to make a better year.
In Burnaby, we saw great changes brought to the community to help people and families in need. More $10 a day child care spaces have opened up, which include Cascade Heights YMCA Childcare and Kids Club in our constituency. New Mobile Integrated Crisis Response teams have launched in our community, allowing vulnerable individuals to receive the mental health support they need faster. The Community Gaming Grants program has provided $5.3 million to 49 non-profit organizations, which includes MOSAIC in Burnaby, helping newcomers settle in Burnaby and in B.C. More exciting things will be coming to Burnaby, and I’m grateful for the work everyone has done in making our community stronger.
This year was a fantastic year for events, as I had attended and hosted many as a way to connect with community members and friends. The Lunar New Year Celebration that I co-hosted with MP Jagmeet Singh and MP Peter Julian, the Summer Movie Night, and our Christmas Open House were incredible, and I’m very glad to have met everyone there. I also went to visit other events to build more connections with my community, which include TJ Fest, The Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby’s breakfast, Coldest Night of the Year, and many more. I plan to continue creating new relationship and maintaining existing ones in 2024, and I’m looking forward to meeting new faces.
On the side of the provincial government, we have accomplished a lot of work, with more still to come. Our B.C. government has made access to healthcare easier by recognizing credentials internationally, removing the barriers and allowing trained professionals wanting to work in B.C. to start quicker. In addition, over 500 internationally trained nurses and 1000 new paramedics have been hired all across B.C., relieving the stress on healthcare providers. We also made changes to help relieve the housing crisis, passing legislation to address short-term rentals, allowing higher-density housing to be built, and making zoning changes easier for municipalities. To ease the cost of living, we also reduced childcare fees, added the Climate Action Tax Credit, low ICBC premiums, and more.
As the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I have been hard at work collaborating with local governments and stakeholders. One of the things my team and I have accomplished is the Growing Communities Fund, where we support all 188 local governments with a historic $1 billion dollars to address local infrastructure, amenities and needs that come with growth. We have quadrupled funding for programs to support newcomers in communities across B.C., increasing funding from $6 million to $25.6 million annually, starting in 2024. Public libraries in B.C. are also receiving support, with 71 libraries receiving a $45 million investment so that you and your loved ones can continue to access expanded services and connect with others.
Of course, there’s still more work to be done. As we head into 2024 with renewed optimism, our team and I will continue to dedicate ourselves to making Burnaby and beyond a better place to live. Thank you for the support you all have given me. Without you, B.C. would not be the place it is today. I hope we stay in touch, and I’m ecstatic to tackle 2024 together. You can reach us by phone: (604) 775-0565 or by email: Anne.Kang.MLA@leg.bc.ca.