Small B.C. community offers a month's free rent if you enrol your kid in their school

Bridge River Valley is appealing to those struggling with the high cost of living across the province by offering to pay the 12th month's rent or mortgage payment for anyone who moves to the community and enrols their children in the local school.

There are currently 3 children attending the Gold Bridge Community School in Bridge River Valley

The Goldbridge Community School in Bridge River Valley near Lillooet has only three students enrolled. Officials are hoping a new campaign offering a free month's rent or mortgage payment will encourage more families to move to the area. (Bridge River Valley Community Association)

It's a beautiful place to visit, but the folks who run the Bridge River Valley hope you'll consider living there.

They're appealing to people struggling with the high cost of living in B.C. by offering to pay one month's rent or mortgage payment to anyone who moves to the area and enrols their children in the local school.

"With the challenges we're having with the economic base here and the population base, the enrolment has declined quite a bit," said Debbie DeMare, the electoral area director for area A of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District.

"Our school district has been fantastic in supporting it and keeping it going, however at some point it becomes not the best educational experience."

There are three kids enrolled in the Gold Bridge Community School currently, said DeMare.

Outdoor activities

The community in the South Chilcotin Mountains, west of Lillooet, is known for its backcountry recreation that attracts people from all over the world.

Outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, skiing and mountain biking are a big part of the students' learning experience, DeMare said.

Instead of playing soccer at school, students might join a community member on a mountain biking trail and learn some new skills.

"Just like the area, this school is a different school," she told Radio West's Sarah Penton. "We want to catch people's attention long enough so that they… look at what the school has to offer and what the community has to offer and see if it fits for them."

DeMare said that outdoor enthusiasts who are "resourceful and resilient" with a decent vehicle to get around would fit right into the Bridge River Valley community.

The community is struggling and the vast number of property owners are non-residents and only come into town for recreation purposes, according to DeMare.

"It's part of the struggle that many places in B.C. have had, rural communities, and we're no different," she said.

"Our situation is made worse by the fact that we're just that one more step isolated, so the inability to maintain a steady economy with… a diversity of economic pieces that provide employment is killing us."

They've come up with this unique way to try and boost their population and DeMare said there are homes in the area available for less than $200,000.

With files from Radio West