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Rural Dividend money flows to northwest

The province’s Rural Dividend Program is providing more than $2 million in fund to nine projects in the northwest.

These grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.

“This funding supports the diverse needs of small communities throughout the province and the people who live in them,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a news release. “Our government is getting results for people in every region, creating jobs and enhancing everyday services and amenities for families around the province.”

The Rural Dividend encourages economic diversification through community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business sector development.

* Dease River First Nation is being awarded $499,000 to develop a sustainable forest tenure and a First Nations Woodland Licence. The project will support the Dease River Development Corp. to create jobs, boost economic capacity and promote forest stewardship in the region.

* The Gitxsan Development Corporation is being awarded $472,894 to prepare engineering and geotechnical assessments to develop an industrial complex in south Hazelton. The project includes a bio-coal pellet plant and heavy-equipment training for residents.

* The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine is being awarded $175,900 for a resident and workforce attraction initiative that builds on an earlier Rural Dividend project. The initiative uses a phased approach, including market research and stakeholder engagement.

* Kitselas First Nation is being awarded $97,200 to update its land-use plan to meet the community’s vision for land use. The project will also develop a streamlined, legal process to accept and review development applications for Kitselas Reserve Lands.

* Kitsumkalum First Nation is being awarded $54,720 to develop a Laxyuup Renewable Energy Portfolio Strategy. The strategy provides a framework to review current and future renewable energy project opportunities to ensure they provide economic benefits for the community.

* Misty Rivers Community Arts Council is being awarded $97,050 to establish a multifunctional public arts facility in the Village of Hazelton.

* Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw is being awarded $432,000 to implement Phase 1 of the Saasak’ Hills off-road bike and hiking trail system. The project includes a two-year design-build plan, reclaiming old trap lines and foraging routes, and completing Lookout Trail.

* The District of Stewart is being awarded $80,000 to create accessible backcountry trails along Highway 37A. The project includes identifying and mapping existing trails and access points, and adding highway signs, pullout areas and parking to mark the trail heads.

* Witset First Nation is being awarded $92,700 to complete Phase 1 of the Widzin Kwah Canyon Development Plan. The project includes a feasibility study, business plan and schematic designs for a cultural visitors’ centre at the canyon pullout on Highway 16.

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