The province recently approved the $100-million Northern Capital and Planning Grant, which provides funding for infrastructure and long-term planning to four regional districts (Fraser-Fort George, Bulkley-Nechako, Kitimat-Stikine and North Coast) and their 22 participating municipalities.
“We’ve been hearing from local governments in northern B.C. about the challenges they face funding much-needed upgrades to their aging infrastructure, and I know this new grant will help close the gap,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a news release. “With this funding, communities can start moving forward on the initiatives they need to seize opportunities now and down the road.”
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 initiatives.
“The funding from the Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go a long way in helping us maintain and improve the infrastructure we have, enhancing the livability of our rural communities within the Fraser-Fort George region,” said Art Kaehn, chair of the Fraser-Fort George Regional District, which will be receiving $4.1 million.
The LNG Canada facility is expected to bring an influx of people into the region. The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will help local governments improve infrastructure and services for the new and existing population, according to the province.
The 22 municipalities received a total of $83.7 million and the four regional districts received $16.3 million.
Small communities received a larger proportional share of the grant to compensate for their reduced commercial and industrial tax base.
The grant funding will be distributed to local governments based on a combination of a flat amount and an adjusted per-capita amount. A larger share of the grant money – 60% – will go to smaller local governments that lack economies of scale and a strong commercial or industrial tax base.
Each eligible municipal local government must place the money in a separate reserve fund for capital and planning purposes.
The municipalities will need to report on the use of money in this reserve fund over each calendar year, and the balance of the reserve fund at the end of each calendar year.
* Bulkley-Nechako Regional District: $5,800,000
* Burns Lake: $3,439,000
* Fort St. James: $3,342,000
* Fraser Lake: $2,607,000
* Fraser-Fort George Regional District: $4,182,000
* Granisle: $2,353,000
* Hazelton: $2,148,000
* Houston: $4,486,000
* Kitimat: $1,556,000
* Kitimat-Stikine Regional District: $4,640,000
* Mackenzie: $4,727,000
* Masset: $2,753,000
* McBride: $2,389,000
* New Hazelton: $2,580,000
* North Coast Regional District: $1,712,000
* Port Clements: $2,085,000
* Port Edward: $2,098,000
* Prince George: $8,135,000
* Prince Rupert: $8,121,000
* Queen Charlotte: $2,935,000
* Smithers: $6,218,000
* Stewart: $1,294,000
* Telkwa: $3,590,000
* Terrace: $8,197,000
* Valemount: $2,882,000
* Vanderhoof: $5,731,000