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September 2014 - Newsletter

Northern Development Initiative Trust hits the 1,500th project mark

With the 1,500th project approved, Northern Development has decided to take a glance back in time to review a few milestone projects that the Trust has supported along the way.

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors has approved a $250,000 grant to support the development of the Northwest Regional Airport terminal expansion project. This is a significant project that helps to satisfy a growing demand of airport traffic in the Northwest and marks the Trust’s 1500th project approved since inception.

Northern Development Initiative Trust was established in November 2004 by the provincial government, to foster economic development and job creation in central and northern British Columbia. The first project approved through a combination of $195,300 grant and $150,000 loan funded by Northern Development to assist with the construction of the Village of Valemount’s Visitor Information and Interpretive Centre. Since inception, the Trust and its programs have grown and evolved into an asset for economic development in central and northern B.C.

A few milestone projects that Northern Development has contributed funds to over the years include the Northeast Regional Auction Mart, the North Pine Farmers Institute’s acquisition of a rail head and grain elevator and the Anahim Lake Airport Terminal Building.

In 2009, the Dawson Creek Exhibition Association undertook rebuilding their facility with funding support from the Government of Canada's Community Adjustment Fund delivered by Northern Development Initiative Trust. The project allowed operations to move from the temporary barn to a full production, purpose built auction facility, after the original auction barn was destroyed by fire. The new facility was constructed in three phases including a livestock sales pavilion with offices, concession, bathrooms, bleachers, ring, and livestock scale.

In 2012, the Peace River region was in danger of losing all the grain elevators within the area, which would have had a crippling effect on the ability of farmers in the region to competitively ship their grain. In response to this challenge, the North Pine Farmers Institute acquired a railhead and grain elevator and made extensive improvements and upgrades to the facility on behalf of farmers all over B.C.'s North Peace region. The acquisition of the railhead and grain elevator by the North Pine Farmers Institute created new opportunities for the agricultural industry in the Peace River Region. With reductions in transportation costs associated with the adoption of rail as the primary method of transporting products, farmers can now afford to reinvest more heavily in their farms and the region.

In 2010, the Cariboo Regional District and Northern Development recognized the importance of the Anahim Lake Airport, and partnered with the Provincial program, Towns For Tomorrow on an airport improvement project. This project involved the construction of a timber framed terminal building and paving up to 700 feet of the existing gravel runway. The terminal building helped to improve the service levels at the airport resulting in increased use of the airport by community residents, visitors, tourism operators, medical personnel, the RCMP and other user groups. The paved runway will also allow for safer winter landings and increased passenger carrying capacity year-round.

Previously, Northern Development has supported 19 airport improvement projects with $14 million in funding approved toward $114 million in airport expansions in communities throughout the region including: Bella Coola, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Prince George, Masset and the Xeni Gwet’in Community Airport.

Quotes
“Northwest Regional Airport is a crucial access point for passenger and business traffic entering northwest B.C., and these upgrades will improve services at the airport and support major industrial projects that strengthen British Columbia’s economy,” said Gerald Wesley, Vice Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “The Trust is proud to support this exciting project through our Economic Diversification Infrastructure program.”

“Investing in airport infrastructure is essential with a growing economy and especially in the northwest part of our province. I toured the facility this summer and it was experiencing 41 per cent passenger growth thanks to the economic growth in the region. That growth will continue as Terrace and Kitimat benefit from LNG and other natural resources developments making this investment even more critical,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labou‎r.

“Communities in northwest British Columbia enjoy strong prospects for significant growth, thanks to natural resource development. Building capacity at the Northwest Regional Airport represents a strategic and timely step forward that will create jobs and drive economic expansion across the region. The Government of British Columbia is proud to support the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s infrastructure investments to help ensure continued prosperity in the North,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

“Northern Development Initiative Trust’s investment comes at a critical time as Northwest Regional Airport continues to break monthly passenger traffic records. The improvements to our airport will help us better meet the needs of residents and visitors to the region and we appreciate the Trust’s assistance in helping us build the region’s infrastructure,” said Dave Pernarowski, Mayor, City of Terrace.

“On behalf of Kitimat Council and the entire community, I wish to thank the Northern Development Initiative Trust for this $250,000 Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant in support of the Northwest Regional Airport terminal expansion project,” said District of Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan. “This airport is a critical asset for Kitimat and the entire region.”

“This project is crucial in providing the facilities needed to support our region’s economic future,” said Carman Hendry, Manager, Northwest Regional Airport Terrace Kitimat. “The Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society would like to thank the Northern Development initiative Trust’s show of confidence in our success as the Northwest Regional Airport.”

Quick Facts
• Airport passenger traffic at Northwest Regional Airport grew approximately 38% between 2012 and 2013
• In the first six months of 2014, the Trust approved 241 projects and $7,263,971 in funding
• $40.6 million from the four regional development accounts
• $29.4 million from the Cross Regional Account
• $21.9 million from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account
• Additionally, community grant writers have been approved for $84.8 million in funding since 2010
• 2,455 partnerships with 778 organizations have attracted over $1.1 billion in new investment to the region

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

Caitlin Hartigan
Manager, Market Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
caitlin@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
250-561-2525

Carman Hendry
Manager
Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat
250-635-2659

Northern Development Approves $30,000 for the Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation

Pictured above is Melissa Steiman, worker, Dennis Tulloch, Riske Creek School carpenter and Kyle Houde, worker.

Northern Development Initiative Trust has approved a $30,000 grant to support the Toosey Indian Band’s initiative to create the ‘Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation'.

Their project proposes revitalizing the old Riske Creek Elementary School that was previously taken over from the school district. The school has been closed for a number of years and vandalism has played a factor in the need to repair and clean up the facility. The Toosey Indian Band’s goal is to turn the school into a multi-use facility that doubles as a community hall as well as a trades training, recreation and skills training centre. The proposed project includes a series of restoration endeavors including roof restoration, window, wood heater and water pump installations, as well as a B.C. Hydro hookup for the building.

Since renovations kicked off in April 2014, there has been an overwhelming sense of community pride at the old Riske Creek Elementary School. Not only have six former Tl’esqox Students returned to the School to help restore the facility, but they have also established a Facebook page to highlight the project renovations.

The ‘Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation project' is intended to introduce and involve the younger generation, who have little to no experience, with the opportunities to gain experience to enter the workforce. Many individuals have previously approached the Band to get involved in the community, and this project provides them this opportunity.

Since the school also doubles as a community hall for the Band, it provides them the ability to host a variety of events including: sporting events, weddings, meetings, school events and even business forums. Revenue could be generated through the rental of the facility with the influx of these community events.

Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program provides municipalities, regional districts, First Nations bands and registered non-profit organizations with up to 50% of a project’s budget to a maximum of $30,000 in funding to improve or expand existing facilities in order to increase the number of events held annually in the community, contributing to service sector revenues in the local economy.

Quotes
"It has been such a great experience to come back to the school I went to and to be part of the renovation. We were included in many of the decisions made by our project manager Craig Kennedy, who let us pick out the color for the school and also the renaming. We helped with the business planning for our core box building enterprise which will allow us to continue on there as employees when the project has been completed." Micheile Solomon, worker, Riske Creek School.

"I have been so excited to learn new skills during this renovation. I can put on my resume that I have done framing, drywall repair, electrical, window and door replacements and general carpentry skills. We enjoy learning new skills with our journeyman carpenter, Dennis Tulloch. I can't believe the transformation the school has taken since we started in May. I am excited to continue on as an employee beyond the end of the renovation." Vern Solomon, worker, Riske Creek School.

"I am very pleased at how well the youth working at the school have done. It is a huge achievement to take a building of that size and fix and repair it. All of the organizations who have helped out with funding and support have shown a great interest in the project and we have people stopping in very frequently now telling us how amazing the facility looks." Craig Kennedy, Project Manager of Riske Creek School.

Quick Facts
• The proposed project is expected to generate $45,000 in incremental revenue. This revenue is expected to be generated through the rental of the facility for training and education purposes as well as weddings, funerals and other events.
• The Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training Employment Centre has confirmed funding of up to $91,619 toward carpentry and construction funding for the five participants in the training programming.
• The applicant estimates that as a result of the proposed project, the property value could increase by a total of 25% when the renovations are completed.
• Northern Development has already approved 41 projects through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $910,402.

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

Caitlin Hartigan,
Manager, Market Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
caitlin@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
1-250-561-2525

Q&A with Williams Lake EDO Alan Madrigga

Economic Development Officer, City of Williams Lake

Image

Williams Lake is gaining momentum - the central B.C. city has been increasing their presence in the tourism industry.
Northern Development recently got in touch with Alan Madrigga, Economic Development Officer for the City of Wiliams Lake, to get the scoop on growth, opportunities and strategic priorities.

Q: You have worked in economic development environments with development corporations, societies and municipal government since the early 1990’s. What are the most significant developments you have seen  in Williams Lake since your start?

A: In general, advances in technology have and continue to generate some of the most significant effects to our community and region’s various industries, as well as how we approach community development.

From a community development perspective, the web has really changed how we are able to communicate and promote communities. For example, corporate site selectors research first via the web versus contacting communities directly like they may have back in the ‘90’s. So investments in web design, communication, promotion, and understanding the associated analytics tools has changed, in part, how community development resources are allocated.

In terms of major business activity, I would say the resurgence of the mining industry over the last decade in Williams Lake has had the most substantial direct positive impact to the local economy. Hundreds of new jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investments in our immediate area have all contributed to maintaining population, improving local confidence, and enhanced various service sector business opportunities.

We have seen corporate consolidation in the forest industry, which has assisted in local mills staying open and remaining competitive. Local forest companies continue to invest in capital improvements, and more is being done with wood fibre today in Williams Lake than ever before. Reality television is even showcasing a Williams Lake based company. Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia is the subject of the HGTV show Timber Kings. The show is also broadcast on the Discovery channel in the US. This kind of media exposure is a big benefit to say the least.

Q:The annual Williams Lake Stampede is one of the most famous tourist attractions in all of central and northern B.C. What do you think is the secret to the Stampede’s continual success?

A: I think the secret to the continued success of the Williams Lake Stampede is the ongoing dedication of the Association members and the many volunteers to produce an amazing event every year. Also, I think the Stampede Association has paid close attention to their program content. They have worked hard to improve the experience for the attendees every year. This means meeting the expectations of delivering competitive world class rodeo events but also injecting fresh entertainment ideas, to attract new visitors and keep people coming back.

Q:What are the City of Williams Lake’s strategic economic development priorities this year?

A:Strategic priority areas this year include initiatives that support small business development,  including a program called Small Town Love, that showcases independently owned retail and service businesses. Additional strategic priorities include new business opportunity profiling and marketing, skilled worker attraction, and downtown revitalization. We have also been assisting local efforts to establish the City’s profile as a mountain bike tourist destination through marketing and service feasibility research.

Q: What advice do you have for young professional seeking rewarding careers in central and northern B.C.?

A:There are a number of industries in Central BC requiring skilled workers and services. Consider your skills and abilities and keep abreast of the new projects and developments that are happening across the region. In addition, existing industries face an ongoing need to adapt to change, improve efficiency and productivity.

With a strong work ethic, and attention to matching their skills and abilities to the needs of new developments or existing industries, young professionals have a great opportunity to drive their own careers in this region. What we’ve heard from young professionals in Williams Lake is that they see more chances to get involved and have a positive influence in their community. It is much more affordable to live here (versus other parts of the province), leaving you dollars to spend on enjoying our world class outdoor recreation assets. So, make your way here, for an exceptional balance of career and lifestyle.

Q:In your role, you implement the City's economic development initiatives, and were involved in the planning and development of the City's Tourism Discovery Centre. What are some positive results from the Centre since it opened?

A:There have been a number of positive results from the Tourism Discovery Centre (TDC), but one of the most important goals that it has met is to significantly increase the number of visitors served. Northern Development was a major funding partner for the project and shares in this success. One of the challenges we had prior to the building of the TDC was that despite the Chamber of Commerce being rated (by Tourism BC) as giving some of the best customer service to visitors, the building size and accessibility resulted in relatively few people stopping at the old centre.

Visitor numbers have ranged from 70% to more than 100% higher than the previous facility. More than 20,000 people now visit the Tourism Discovery Centre each year. This allows local business and area tourism operators to market their operations to many more travelers than before. When asked at trade shows residents in southern BC who had been to Williams Lake consistently report better knowledge about what the City and area has to offer as a vacation destination, than before the Centre was built. The information and displays in the TDC are noted as a primary reason for this improved knowledge of our area. Essentially, the TDC has resulted in stopping far more visitors and giving them a better sense of what our area has to offer them.

Q:If a tourist only had one day in Williams Lake – what would you recommend they do?

A:Williams Lake is a hub community in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and this is especially true from a tourism perspective.
If you are into outdoor adventure, a day is easily spent riding some of the 200 kms of single track mountain bike trails within the City limits. There are trails for every skill level, and one of the largest bike parks in BC’s interior for you to get warmed up on. Keep your energy level up in between downhill or river valley rides and grab a tasty meal or snacks at any one of our well-appointed eateries ~ many are biker friendly, with racks out front. Finish off the day with a massage at one of the day spas in the downtown, followed with a nice meal with local foods at a restaurant overlooking the lake.

If you prefer to keep the adrenalin levels lower, a day is well spent doing a walk about the downtown. Here you can soak in a variety of impressive building murals depicting local culture, while picking up some new treasures at unique shops. Not to miss in the downtown, get lost in history at the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin home to BC’s Cowboy Hall of Fame. For your artistic side visit the Station House (Art) Gallery and gift shop. In between, enjoy a nice lunch at a coffee bistro or restaurant. Finish off your afternoon at Scout Island Nature Centre where the interpretive centre and walking trails inform you about local wildlife and let you see some first hand. Finish off the day with dinner at a restaurant featuring local beef and produce.

School's back in session and we are breaking out the stats!

September means back to school, so this month, our infographic is focused on all fabulous post-secondary institutions in central and northern B.C.

Northern Development approves $30,000 for Fraser Lake Curling Rink Improvements

Winter’s on its way and the Village of Fraser Lake is gearing up for it by improving the Fraser Lake Curling Rink. Northern Development has approved $30,000 in funding to connect the curling rink’s chilling system to the ice arena in order to provide both rink floors with refrigeration from the existing ice arena chilling system.

The developments to the Village of Fraser Lake’s curling rink will potentially catalyze direct economic benefits for the community. Increased memberships rates, and use of the curling rink amongst the residents in the region will help to provide economic benefits to the local economy. In addition, with the enhancements, the Fraser Lake Curling Rink will have a better ability to host tournaments, which could attract users from outside of the region. The new linked cooling system should be much more reliable and allow the curling club to hold provincial-level curling tournaments and competitions.

Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program provides municipalities, regional districts, First Nations bands and registered non-profit organizations with up to 50% of a project’s budget to a maximum of $30,000 in funding to improve or expand existing facilities in order to increase the number of events held annually in the community, contributing to service sector revenues in the local economy.

Quotes
“The upgrades to curling rink system is projected to increase usage through confidence in a sustainable ice surface,” says Vern Hillman, Village of Fraser Lake, Works Superintendent. “Tournament, youth and senior curling are three main users that will benefit from this new system”

"The upgrade to the chiller system in the curling rink in Fraser Lake was truly needed as the old plant was certainly near the end of its life. This system is very modern and will ensure the future of our curling club in Fraser Lake," said Dwayne Lindstrom, Mayor, Village of Fraser Lake. "We have a very large junior curling program in Fraser Lake and this will also make it possible for new and future curlers. We are very fortunate to have funding granted to us from Northern Development for this project."

“The new system allows our community to continue curling as a sport, which many people are passionate about,” says Jolene Webb, Economic Development Officer, Village of Fraser Lake. “With the upgrade of the chilling system this reduces the carbon footprint of the facility by using the same cooling system in the hockey rink. The connected system will use less energy and reduce the cost of utilities.”

Quick Facts
• Projections forecast incremental revenue increase of $245,588 over five years, which represents a 66% increase over current annual revenues.
• Northern Development has previously supported several curling rink repair and upgrade projects in communities throughout the region including Ashcroft, Forest Grove, Vanderhoof, Taylor and Burns Lake.
• The Village of Fraser Lake has approved $30,000 for the Fraser Lake Curling Rink Improvement project and has been approved for a $30,000 grant from Northern Development.
• This grant will help to replace the existing compressor stage control from the hockey rink ice temperature to brine return temperature control.
• This grant will also help to commission the new installation and start up the curing rink.
• The Village of Fraser Lake anticipates that a fully functional curling rink with an improved cooling system will increase the use of the curling rink and allow the community to host more competitions and events.
• Northern Development has already approved 41 projects through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $910,402.

Contact
Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
1-250-561-2525

Caitlin Hartigan,
Manager, Market Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
caitlin@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
1-250-561-2525

Success Story: Ski and Stay program invites Alaskans to hit the slopes in Smithers

The Ski and Stay Smithers program is designed to bring more visitors to the Bulkley Valley in the winter months when tourism traffic in the area is generally slower.

But instead of focusing on traditional target markets such as Vancouver and Calgary, the program has focused on attracting visitors from Alaska, the Yukon and Northern B.C.

From November to April, Smithers’ Hudson Bay Mountain offers some of the best powder in Western Canada, including 36 runs ranging in difficulty and stunning panoramic views of the Bulkley Valley and surrounding mountain peaks.

The Ski and Stay program is a partnership between Hudson Bay Mountain Adventures, Hudson Bay Lodge, Aspen Inn and Suites, the Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association and the Northern B.C. Tourism Association to help promote the resort.

The partner hotels work with the ski resort to create easy-to-book ski packages that start with one-and-a-half day getaways.

For example, two nights accommodation at the Hudson Bay Lodge and four adult full-day lift tickets is $169 per person.

Northern Development Initiative Trust contributed $18,000 in grant funding through its Marketing Initiatives program to help make the project a reality.

The project has already generated results, with total sales increasing 10% during the 2013/14 season compared with the year before.

Visitors from Alaska, the Yukon and other parts of Northern B.C. have booked a number of packages, which has increased local tourism revenue in the Bulkley Valley during the winter.

The increase in revenue has helped boost local employment during the winter season, providing welcomed stability for the local hotels and their staff.

Testimonials
“Here are the things I love about skiing at Hudson Bay Mountain: I love that it is small and intimate. I love no lift lines. I love the relaxed atmosphere, most people are there to have fun and aren't there to ski like downhill racers. The snow is great, the people very welcoming and friendly. The lift staff is helpful and really wants you to be having fun. Staying in a cabin on the ski run is especially great, no driving! Skiing to the lift in the morning and skiing back to the cabin at the end of the day is wonderfully relaxing.
I even enjoy traveling to Smithers. The ferry ride is an adventure, the drive up the Skeena Valley is awesome” – Judith McQuerry, Ketchikan, Alaska

“We really look forward to our ski trips to Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers, B.C., every winter. The ski hill, with great runs and a terrific lodge, is awesome: The snow is dry powder and plenty of it, the people are friendly and it's easy to get there from Ketchikan. We love seeing our friends from Ktown there, too. Come ski with us!" – Jim and Mary Lynne Dahl, Ketchikan, Alaska

“Our Ski and Stay marketing program has grown over the years and does two things in my mind: first it lets people know, from Prince Rupert to Prince George and from Whitehorse to Ketchikan, that Hudson Bay Mountain, the community of Smithers and our hotels are ready and waiting to receive them for a great ski experience. It also reminds people all winter long about our community, so even if they don't want to ski, there is a ‘happening’ little mountain town they should come check out,” said Gladys Attril, Tourism Smithers.

“The Ski and Stay program is a great initiative to boost tourism traffic to one the region’s premier attractions during the slower winter months. The funding provided by Northern Development is directly helping to attract new visitors to the region, which helps generate additional revenue for local businesses and support tourism jobs in our region,” said Dean McKinley, Director, Economic Development, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Quick Facts
• From November to April, Smithers’ Hudson Bay Mountain offers some of the best powder in Western Canada, including 36 runs ranging in difficulty and stunning panoramic views of the Bulkley Valley and surrounding mountain peaks
• The Ski and Stay Smithers program is a partnership between Hudson Bay Mountain Adventures, Hudson Bay Lodge, Aspen Inn and Suites, the Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association and the Northern B.C.
• Tourism Association to help promote the resort
• The partner hotels work with the ski resort to create easy-to-book ski packages that start with one-and-a-half day getaways.
• Visitors from Alaska, the Yukon and other parts of Northern B.C. have booked a number of packages, which has increased local tourism revenue in the Bulkley Valley during the winter.

Key Numbers
• 36 – the number of ski runs on Hudson Bay Mountain
• 8 kilometres – the longest run on Hudson Bay Mountain
• 5,413 feet – top elevation of Hudson Bay Mountain resort
• 75% - the number of runs that are rated intermediate or expert
• 10% - the year-over-year growth in bookings at the resort thanks to the Ski and Stay program
• $18,000 – the grant funding that Northern Development contributed to Ski and Stay Smithers to market the resort

Funding partners
Northern B.C. Tourism Association
Hudson’s Bay Mountain Adventures
Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association
Hudson Bay Lodge
Aspen Inn and Suites

Get in touch with us

Allan Stroet
Economic Development Officer
Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association
allanstroet@bveda.ca
www.bveda.ca

Dean McKinley
Director, Economic Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
dean@northerndevelopment.bc.ca
www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca

The Trust's Economic Development Capacity Building program helps to boost economic development capacity in municipalities and regional districts

Economic Development Capacity Building funding is provided annually to boost economic development capacity in municipalities and regional districts throughout central and northern British Columbia.

This program provides up to a $50,000 rebate annually to each municipality and regional district in Northern Development’s service region. At least $5,000 of the annual funding must be used to fund a collaborative economic development project with another municipality, regional district, First Nations band, tourism or industry association.