The province announced Friday that a $100-million northern capital and planning grant will go to four regional districts (Fraser Fort George, Bulkley Nechako, Kitimat Stikine and North Coast) and their 22 municipalities.
“The rich resources and hard-working people of the Northwest have long contributed more than their fair share to the prosperity of our province,” said Premier John Horgan, in a news release. “Unfortunately the benefits of success have been slow to flow back to the region, leaving communities with aging infrastructure that does not meet their needs or the needs of industry. We’re reversing this legacy of neglect with a new Northern Capital and Planning Grant that will help people and communities make the most of new opportunities, so that the benefits of resource development are felt for years to come.”
Small communities within the catchment area will receive a larger proportional share of the grant to compensate for their reduced commercial and industrial tax base.
“This is the largest grant the City of Terrace has ever received, and it represents one-third of our annual budget,” said Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc. “It gives us the chance to address some of the many outstanding projects we would like to tackle. We are grateful to the provincial government for recognizing the needs of northern communities.”
Local governments may use the grant to meet an immediate infrastructure need for their community, save it for a future opportunity or leverage it to secure other sources of funding, including borrowing, reserves and other grant programs, to cover major infrastructure and long-term planning.
“The northern capital and planning grant provides invaluable assistance to help Mackenzie and other small northern B.C. communities meet our current infrastructure challenges and prepare for upcoming development opportunities,” said Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson.
The grant was informed by recent discussions between the Province and the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance. The Province consulted with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, as a change to the Local Governments Grant Regulation is required before the Northern Capital and Planning Grant can be implemented.
The 22 municipalities will receive a total of $83.7 million. The four regional districts will receive $16.3 million.