In this issue

Biomass district heating system will create significant fuel savings for Port Clements

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors has approved a $98,623 grant to help the Village of Port Clements build a biomass district heating system.

Northern Development continues to boost revitalization in Downtown Prince George

Northern Development’s role in the revitalization of Downtown Prince George took another step forward this month thanks in part to $250,000 in grant funding approved for an enhanced façade and placemaking initiative.

North Peace Museum upgrades will generate new revenue along the Alaska Highway

Fort St. John’s storied history is about to become far more accessible for handicapped and senior visitors.

Chetwynd to receive $250,000 for a new medical clinic

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors has approved a $250,000 grant for a new Medical Health Clinic and Community Wellness Centre in the District of Chetwynd.

Photo Slideshow: B.C.’s Northwest

Q&A with Telkwa EDO Jane Stevenson

Partner Profile, Jane Stevenson, Economic Development Officer, Village of Telkwa

Mountain Biking In Northern British Columbia

Northern Development continues to spread the love for Northern B.C.’s independent businesses

Small Town Love is a movement connecting people with the independent shops and services that are the heart and soul of their communities.

Apply For Funding

If you are interested in learning more about any of Northern Development's funding programs, please don't hesitate to call the office at 250-561-2525 to speak to a member of our team.

Business Development

Forest Innovation FundCompetitiveness Consulting RebateConnecting British Columbia

Community Development

Economic Diversification InfrastructureCommunity Halls and Recreation FacilitiesCapital Investment AnalysisMarketing InitiativesCommunity Foundation Matching GrantsBusiness Façade Improvement

Capacity Building

BC Hydro GO FundEconomic Development Capacity BuildingFabulous Festivals and EventsGrant Writing SupportGovernance Essentials Scholarship

Partner Programs

July 2014 - Newsletter

Biomass district heating system will create significant fuel savings for Port Clements

Port Clements

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors has approved a $98,623 grant to help the Village of Port Clements build a biomass district heating system.

The system, which would be fueled by a 100-kilowatt biomass boiler system, will heat the Port Clements multiplex building, fire department and school gymnasium. The biomass system will reduce demand for diesel and propane fuels, as well as help the community become more environmentally sustainable.

The Village, which is home to approximately 400 people, has previously relied on costly diesel-generated electricity and propane to heat most of its buildings. The biomass district heating system, however, will help the Village reduce its emissions, exceed its carbon reduction targets and support healthier, cleaner air in the community.

The district heating system will be powered with biomass briquettes produced at a locally owned mill on Haida Gwaii, generating new value for previously underutilized wood waste.

The Village expects the district heating system will save the community $40,000 a year in heating costs, and up to $200,000 over five years.

The district heating system can also be expanded to include additional buildings in the future. Buildings in proximity to the system include the community medical clinic, a historic church, several residences and several acres of undeveloped commercial land.

The Village will own and operate the facility and monitor a meter at each building that connects to the biomass system, allowing the Village to determine locally what rates users should be charged to ensure the system’s operating costs are covered.

The grant is being provided through the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides up to $250,000 in funding to municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area for projects that significantly strengthen the local economy via a major capital investment.

Quotes

“This project not only significantly reduces costs for Port Clements, but also creates new revenue-generating value for previously under-used wood waste on Haida Gwaii. Northern Development is proud to support this project, and we look forward to seeing the energy system get built and begin generating savings for the community,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“The Village of Port Clements is excited to be moving forward with a biomass heating project.  This project is a triple win for our community as it will lower heating costs, initially for the multiplex building and fire hall complex, help address the issue of an overabundance of biomass, and all the capital costs will be covered by funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Province of British Columbia Community Works Fund,” said Kim Mushynsky, CAO, Village of Port Clements.

“All governments need to look for ways to be less intrusive on our environment. Our proposed biomass project is one way for Port Clements to do this and, with Northern Development Initiative Trust helping us, we now have funding in place to move forward with the project. Great news for Port Clements!” said Mayor Wally Cheer, Village of Port Clements.

“I believe in saving money and in clean energy. My dream was to get a co-generation plant built at the Port Clements Industrial Park to help make better use of our local wood waste, and reduce costs for the village.  When I heard about the local wood briquette plant being built, as well as Telkwa’s district heating system, I had new energy to work and move this project ahead – and thanks to Northern Development it will happen!” said Urs Thomas, Councillor, Village of Port Clements.

Quick Facts
• Northern Development has already approved 17 projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $3,621,283
• The biomass district heating system will be fueled by a 100-kilowatt biomass boiler system with biomass briquettes produced locally in Haida Gwaii
• The biomass heating system will initially heat three buildings in Port Clements and will be expanded to include other buildings in the Village in the future
• The biomass facility has the potential to save the Village of Port Clements $200,000 over the next five years with heating cost savings of approximately $40,000 per year

Contact

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
250-561-2525

 

Northern Development continues to boost revitalization in Downtown Prince George

Northern Development’s role in the revitalization of Downtown Prince George took another step forward this month thanks in part to $250,000 in grant funding approved for an enhanced façade and placemaking initiative.

The project is unique and can be replicated in other municipalities throughout Northern B.C., and builds on the success of the Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption and Incentives program the Trust launched in partnership with the City of Prince George in 2011.

That partnership is designed to encourage new market and non-market housing, commercial and mixed-use development, green development and facade improvements.

The program means developers in Downtown Prince George can choose to access a lump sum payment once their project has reached the occupancy stage to offset their capital costs.

The payment is aligned with the equivalent municipal tax exemption a developer would receive over the term of a standard revitalization tax exemption agreement. 

By accessing the early benefit, the developer’s annual tax payments are paid back to Northern Development through the city for the duration of the equivalent tax exemption period, which can be up to 10 years.

The program resulted in the development of eight new townhomes in the downtown area in 2012 and 2013.

Gordon Bliss, president of InVestgo Ventures Ltd., which built the townhomes, said in 2013 the program was one of the most innovative concepts out there.

“It helped our project to move forward as we could use the tax incentive money as equity with our financial institution,” said Bliss at the time. “This incentive also allowed us to upgrade the look of the buildings inside and out and still offer the units at a favourable price.”

The program also provided funding for the construction of several brownstone-style townhomes and façade upgrades to the Scotiabank building, both of which are located on Victoria Street.
Since then, the program has been made available to communities throughout the region.

The Trust’s decision in July to approve $250,000 for a new enhanced façade improvement and placemaking initiative will further speed up revitalization efforts in Downtown Prince George.

The project is well timed to help prepare the downtown area to welcome thousands of new visitors to Prince George in 2015 for the Canada Winter Games, 100th anniversary of the city, 25th anniversary of the University of Northern British Columbia, the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM, the North Central Local Government Association AGM and Conference and the 10th anniversary of the Trust, among other events.

The Placemaking Enhancement Initiative includes an enhanced façade improvement grant program, the installation of branded welcome signage and public art.

These elements will be developed in collaboration with other City of Prince George and Downtown PG initiatives including wayfinding signage and landscaping.

The additional funding is designed to execute a uniform vision for downtown Prince George to maximize the city’s 2015 opportunities, but, should it be successful, it could serve as a model for a similar enhanced program in other communities throughout the region.

Quotes:

"This initiative is a catalyst that will boost economic development in downtown Prince George in time for the 2015 Canada Winter Games and a host of other significant milestones for the city and region as a whole," said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Quick Facts
• In July, Northern Development’s board of directors approved $250,000 for an enhancement façade and placemaking initiative for Downtown Prince George
• The initiative includes an enhanced façade improvement grant program, the installation of branded welcome signage and public art
• In 2011, the Trust partnered with the city to deliver the Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption and Incentives program to encourage new development and façade improvements in the downtown area That program has resulted in 12 new townhomes and a major façade improvement
• The Downtown Revitalization program means developers in Downtown Prince George can choose to access a lump sum payment once their project has reached the occupancy stage to offset their capital costs.

Contact

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
250-561-2525

North Peace Museum upgrades will generate new revenue along the Alaska Highway

Fort St. John’s storied history is about to become far more accessible for handicapped and senior visitors.

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors in July approved a $68,545 grant to fund upgrades at the North Peace Museum that include a wheelchair friendly entrance with automatic doors, new washrooms and carpeting throughout the interior of the museum.

The museum, located in the heart of Fort St. John, tells the story of the multiple centuries of history in the area from First Nations settlements to the oil and gas industries of today. The museum is home to more than 6,000 artifacts as well as archival documents and photographers, and features a teepee, trapper’s cabin, blacksmith shop, 1920s era school room, 1930s dentist office, missionary chapel, general store and B.C. Police Barracks, among many other attractions.

The upgrades will modernize the museum, making it more attractive to visitors who live in the region and travel along the world famous Alaska Highway. The total project budget is $116,052.

The North Peace Historical Society, which operates the museum, has committed to contributing the remaining $47,507 needed to complete the upgrades. The project was approved under the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides up to $250,000 in funding to municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area.

Quotes

“These upgrades will make the North Peace Museum that much more attractive and accessible to visitors travelling to Fort St. John along the Alaska Highway, and will help generate new revenue that supports the local economy and ensures that the local history of the area is recognized for years to come,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“We have a rich and diverse history.  It is imperative that we continue to inform our visitors and residents and celebrate that history. The staff and volunteers of the North Peace Museum and Historical Society are to be commended for the work they have done to this end,” said City of Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman.

"This grant will make the museum more user-friendly for people with disabilities, seniors and young families with strollers. In our 30th year in this building, we are happy that the Northern Development Initiative Trust has enabled us to modernize the museum and make it a place where residents and tourists can access the history of the North Peace,” said Heather Longworth, museum manager/curator, Fort St. John North Peace Museum.

Quick Facts
• Northern Development has already approved 17 projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $3,621,283
• The North Peace Museum is home to more than 6,000 artifacts
• The upgrades to the museum include a wheelchair accessible entrance, new washrooms and carpeting
• The project is expected to help the museum generate $90,000 in new revenue over a five year period
• The total cost of the upgrades is $116,052

Contact

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
Phone: 250-561-2525

Heather Longworth
Museum Manager/Curator
Fort St. John North Peace Museum
fsjnpmuseum@fsjmail.com
Phone: 250-787-0430

Chetwynd to receive $250,000 for a new medical clinic

Chetwynd_Clinic-opt

The proposed Chetwynd health clinic (rendering) will help attract new physicians to the community and support local job creation

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors has approved a $250,000 grant for a new Medical Health Clinic and Community Wellness Centre in the District of Chetwynd.

The decision allows the District, which will own the clinic, to move forward to secure additional funding to improve healthcare services for Chetwynd residents. The project will also help attract new physicians to the community, which will incent further investment in Chetwynd that supports local economic development and job creation. The proposed facility, a $1.4 million project that, if built, would be the only clinic of its kind in Chetwynd, would help the community attract and retain doctors, improving access to medical services for residents and decreasing patient wait times.

The clinic would be located on District-owned lands and house medical offices, exam rooms and a waiting and reception area. A community wellness centre would be co-located in a general space at the clinic, where health education, group learning and outpatient services could also be conducted. Some mental health services and public health services would also be relocated to the new clinic from their current locations at the Chetwynd Hospital.

Chetwynd’s four physicians currently operate from an aged, inefficient building that is poorly laid out for medical purposes, and does not allow the physicians to effectively deliver services to residents. The current clinic not only makes it difficult for the community to attract new physicians, but also reduces overall investment interest from the private sector. The funding is the Trust’s maximum allowable grant from its Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, and is subject to confirmation of other funding sources. The District has committed to contributing an additional $100,000 toward the project, and is looking to borrow the remaining funding needed for the project from the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA).

Quotes

“This funding will help Chetwynd attract and retain new physicians that will not only improve healthcare services in the community, but also make the community more attractive to new families and investors,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Mayor Merlin Nichols made the following comments: “Chetwynd’s proposed Medical Clinic and Wellness Centre was given a major and much-hoped-for step up with the generous donation of $250,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust. We accept the donation with gratitude and thanks and see it as a positive endorsement by Northern Development of our effort to bring secure, long-term medical care to our community. It is also a pleasure to be able to acknowledge the active support of Northern Health and the resident physicians and the growing interest a number of other industries and organizations are showing for this project.”

"A new medical building accommodating more than four physicians and also functioning as a multidisciplinary clinic has always been my dream. To hear the news that this will become a reality was beyond my expectations. We should give the District of Chetwynd and each individual who worked so hard on this project a huge amount of credit for their proactive and problem solving thinking. This is a huge benefit for the community of Chetwynd and a much needed tool for attracting new physicians,” said Doctor Anton Venter, head Physician.

Health Services Committee Chair Ernest Pfanner made the following statement: “We are really pleased with the grant from Northern Development Initiative Trust. This gives us the boost we require to get the Medical Clinic and Wellness Centre started as soon as possible. We hope that this will spur additional interest in donations from the private sector to help us build our much-needed Clinic. Thanks again to NDIT for recognizing our community needs and addressing them so quickly.”

Quick Facts
• The $1.4 million clinic will incent private investment and support local job creation in Chetwynd
• The clinic will be the only one of its kind in Chetwynd
• The clinic will make it easier for Chetwynd to attract and retain physicians
• The clinic will support improved healthcare service delivery and shorten wait times for patients
• The clinic would be located on District-owned lands and house medical offices, exam rooms and a waiting and reception area.
• The Trust’s $250,000 grant is subject to confirmation of other funding sources

Contact

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
Phone: 250-561-2525

Photo Slideshow: B.C.’s Northwest

A few weeks ago, our Manager, Market Development Caitlin Hartigan headed out on the open road to find out how some of Northern Development’s funding programs have made a difference for communities throughout the northwest. On her journey, Caitlin went a little snap happy with the camera and brought back an assortment of photos from her travels – check ‘em out!

Q&A with Telkwa EDO Jane Stevenson

Partner Profile, Jane Stevenson, Economic Development Officer, Village of Telkwa

Jane_Stevenson

Village of Telkwa economic development officer Jane Stevenson (left) and Mayor Carman Graf stand outside the newly refurbished commercial building at the corner of Hankin and Highway 16. Stevenson has called council’s decision to repurpose the building the village’s “most valuable” economic development achievement in the last three years.

Situated at the confluence of the Telkwa and Bulkley rivers just 20 minutes from Smithers, the Village of Telkwa has been growing steadily in recent years thanks to an influx of young families that are taking advantage of the community’s affordability, amenities and hospitality. With a population of 1,350 and growing, Northern Development was interested to find out how the Village of Telkwa was positioning itself to support local businesses and economic growth. To get the answers, we had a chat with the village’s Economic Development Officer – and local author – Jane Stevenson.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I have a really rewarding job where the successes are often tangible results like our upgraded playgrounds, new parks or improvements to buildings like our community hall. I also love working with the local existing businesses because the owners and operators are often really passionate about this place that we live in and enthusiastic about new programs.

Q: How much growth have you seen in the local economy in the last decade? What’s driving it?

A: I’ve seen a slow and steady population growth and with that a slow and steady growth in our new businesses. Business license sales increase every year. I’ve definitely witnessed a renewed optimism about living and doing business here in Telkwa, and it is reflected in the entrepreneurial spirit of those that have opened their new businesses and also in the expansion or continuation of our existing businesses.

Q: What do you think has been the Village of Telkwa’s most valuable economic achievement to date?

A: I think that the leadership shown by the Village of Telkwa’s council and staff to purchase the highly visible and empty commercial building on the corner of Hankin and Highway 16, and their decision to repurpose that building, was our most valuable economic achievement in the last three years. We are really proud of the grant funding that we found to enable these improvements. The Village of Telkwa has led the investment in our downtown by purchasing and retrofitting the Hankin Corner Building, by establishing a district heating system and by building out commercial rental space in the building too. Another big achievement is my personal success rate in grant writing. Council and staff are all really proud of the $1,679,000 in grant funding I have secured for the Village of Telkwa in the last two years.

Q: Telkwa has recently joined Small Town Love and Northern Development’s Love Telkwa campaign. How has joining Small Town Love supported Telkwa’s local business community?

A: The local businesses have really responded well to the Small Town Love campaign. I really appreciate positivity and that is what this Small Town Love and Love Telkwa initiative is all about. We have offered local businesses a well-branded and well-supported campaign with a reasonable one-time registration fee and we have had a great response from our local businesses. Telkwa has, so far, 27 local businesses signed up. That is an awesome registration number for the size of our village! I know local businesses appreciate that someone else is actively boosting their products or services, and I see the stats online that show it is working.

Q: More and more young families are re-locating to Telkwa. Why? And what words of wisdom do you have for young families looking to relocate to Telkwa?

A: Telkwa is a great place to live, work and raise your family and that is why people are moving here and staying here. Telkwa Elementary School is the smallest school in the district and there are real advantages to having your children go to a small school. There is an awesome daycare right by the school too. Telkwa is aware of the growing population of young families and there is a focus on improving parks and recreation – the recent seasonal skate park is an example of that. We have fantastic access to the wilderness all around the Village.

Q: In addition to your role with the Village, you also are an award-winning writer and author. How has living in northern B.C. influenced your writing?

A: My nonfiction books focus on the unique characters or places or events in northern B.C. I also place my fictional short stories in northern B.C. I think that by basing my characters in a strong setting that I know really well I can craft stories that draw a reader in. A short story of mine was nominated for the 2014 Journey Prize so I must be doing something right by writing about northern B.C.

Mountain Biking In Northern British Columbia

Northern Development continues to spread the love for Northern B.C.’s independent businesses

Approximately 620 businesses in 19 communities have signed up to be part of the northern B.C. buy local program

 

Small Town Love is a movement connecting people with the independent shops and services that are the heart and soul of their communities. The program is designed to deliver unique marketing campaigns in communities throughout central and northern B.C. that celebrate locally owned independent businesses with an aim to strengthen their competitiveness and keep more dollars in the local economy.

The program represents a partnership between Northern Development Initiative Trust, Small Town Love founder and entrepreneur Amy Quarry and communities throughout the region.

Quarry created and launched the original “Small Town Love” initiative in the City of Quesnel. With more than 50 local Quesnel-based businesses working collaboratively under the “Small Town Love” marketing brand, Quarry’s original program was extremely well received and highly successful. Since then, hundreds of locally owned independent businesses in nearly a dozen communities throughout the region have signed on to have their products and stories featured through unique community web portals.