I came across this and here is what I did:
1- For the UNC path, I just used to open the exact location with the explorer and then copy/paste the path into the provisioning template.
2- For the $ thingy, I would say add the server where you are trying to access the share into as a preferred server. When you add it as a preferred server you will need to supply credentials to access the location.
I hope this solves your issues.
Thank you for your suggestions.
For #1, that was my solution. The question is, why can't it browse.
For #2, It is already a preferred server. The question is, why are paths with admin shares ($) no longer valid?
I see this same behavior on two different 2016 servers, so I think its in the code. I'm curious if anyone else is experiencing the same thing.