Northern Development OKs $1.27 million in project funding


Gerry Thiessen
Gerry Thiessen

As part of its goal to support community-identified strategic priorities, Northern Development Initiative Trust approved $1.27 million in funding for five economic development projects throughout northern B.C., thanks to the Strategic Initiatives Fund.

The Strategic Initiatives Fund was launched in January of this year and was designed to put communities in the driver’s seat and propose projects that are strategic in nature and support long-term economic transformation and sustainability.

“Communities throughout northern B.C. have been looking for funding opportunities to respond to unique challenges and opportunities identified at the local level,” said Gerry Thiessen, Northern Development chair. “Northern Development heard this request and the board couldn’t be more pleased than to support these projects identified as strategic priorities for local economic development and sustainability.”

The program is designed to be broad in nature, allowing flexibility for proposals that capitalize on the diverse opportunities and strengths that exist in communities throughout Northern Development’s service area.

At their April 18 meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved funding for the following projects:

  • $574,191 was approved for the City of Quesnel to support aesthetic and technological upgrades for a number of facilities as part of the community’s destination development strategy to create a unique precinct with advanced hosting capabilities.
  • $375,000 was approved for the Metlakatla Band Council to address large scale production capacity and develop market expansion activities for the shellfish aquaculture industry along the north coast in support of the North Pacific Marine Plan.
  • $236,650 was approved for the Lillooet Tribal Council for the development of a Community Adult Basic Education Learning Centre to benefit students from Lillooet and the northern St’at’imc communities in order to help strengthen and build the local labour force.
  • 50,160 was approved for the Williams Lake Indian Band to support the development of land-based regulations required for the future development of the Coyote Rock development area, which would eventually lead to expanding the community’s tax base, create employment and business opportunities and fill the need for much needed new housing stock in the Williams Lake area.
  • $35,000 was approved for the City of Williams Lake for the development of an economic development strategy to enable the city to overcome challenges and prioritize and pursue opportunities arising as part of wildfire recovery work.

The competitive review of proposals indicated that the supported projects provided a strategic response to a specific economic development objective, opportunity or challenge.

Seventy per cent of the approved funding is for projects with direct or transferrable benefits that will mitigate the impacts of the mountain pine beetle on the northern B.C. economy.

“These grants are helping the region develop communities, industries, skills and economic growth strategies,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.This program recognizes the diverse needs of individual communities throughout Northern B.C. and it’s wonderful to see these dollars at work to support projects that communities have identified as being local and regional priorities.”

ABOUT THE STRATEGIC INITIATIVES FUND

The Strategic Initiatives Fund is available on an annual intake for local governments, registered First Nations bands and partnerships with non-profit corporations or private sector businesses where a local government or registered First Nation band is the lead applicant. The program supports up to 80 per cent of a project’s value. The program allows Northern Development to support strategic projects that may not otherwise fit into its suite of programs, but that are large in scale, regional in impact, enhance a community or multiple communities’ ability to overcome economic challenges and will result in incremental capacity or strategic economic infrastructure within a municipality or First Nation.