$100 Million Commitment By Northern Development Results in Over $1 Billion in Partnered Investments

May 17, 2011

Central and northern British Columbia continues to excel in utilizing the Northern Development Initiative Trust to innovate and drive the economy during the ‘Northern Decade’.

To date, $100 million has been committed by Northern Development into eight hundred and three individual projects totaling over $1 billion in total project investments in central and northern BC. These investments were made ‘by northerners – for northerners’ and funds have flowed into projects where communities, First Nations and businesses are taking leadership in growing jobs, revenues and quality of life.

“We are extremely proud of the strategic impact Northern Development investment in communities and industry has had on central and northern BC’s economy,” stated Chair of Northern Development, Evan Saugstad. “Reaching $1 billion in investments leveraged in this region in 2011 is a major milestone for the Northern Development Initiative Trust Board. This milestone has been achieved much sooner than the Strategic Plan originally targeted, and the Board is now focused on attracting over $2 billion in investment to the region by 2015.”

Beyond flowing close to $100 million in funding to our communities, the single biggest difference that Northern Development is making to central and northern BC communities is building community capacity.

Thanks to a $250,000 partnership agreement with the New Relationship Trust, the Grant Writing Support Program is expanded across the breadth of the province into numerous First Nations communities. During 2010, grant writers in sixty-nine BC communities (of which forty-three are First Nations) collectively wrote funding applications for community and not-for-profit needs of $64.3 million. To date, $15 million has been approved with $30 million awaiting funding decisions from various funders and levels of government. The result of this program is that communities have dramatically increased their capacity to “shake the money tree” and derive more dollars to meeting local economic and social needs.

Community capacity was also dramatically impacted in 2010 by the Internship Program that successfully placed university graduates from rural communities into the challenging and rewarding work of community economic development and local government. The youthful energy of UNBC graduates Derek Baker, Evan van Dyk and Kelly Bryan forever changed Northern Development. After successfully landing great professional positions as economic development officers for Prince Rupert/Port Edward, Terrace and Tumbler Ridge, their collective talent is strengthening the dynamism that these communities bring to partnerships with industry and local business in their communities.

It was such a great experience for Northern Development and rural communities that the Internship Program has been expanded. In 2011, the Internship Program will be expected to turn out four highly polished northern university graduates following their six month internship. This internship will offer practicum placements that serve the needs of communities throughout the region. Economic Development Interns Robyn Carle, Melissa Barcellos, Derek de Candole, and Kaleena Ross will be working in communities across the region to gain experience during their internship this summer.

Manufacturing, businesses and resource sector suppliers increased their use of the Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program by 40% in 2010. Companies utilized the program to help fine tune their productivity. Levelling the playing field for access to strong business consulting expertise by offering 50% rebates through Northern Development increases revenues, jobs and opportunities across the North. Business creates jobs, and communities create quality of life as well as the right business environment. Rural people are by their very nature industrious and collaborative and used to scarce resources and community amenities as compared to urban counterparts. Northern Development is more than just programs and funding. Northern Development is also about collaboration, creating and maintaining relationships and with an attitude of ‘HOW TO GET TO YES” making the North a better place for us all to work, live and recreate.

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s 2010 Annual Report can be viewed on Northern Development’s website at www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca.

During Northern Development’s Annual General Meeting held in Terrace, BC on April 27th, Director Evan Saugstad, Mayor of Chetwynd was acclaimed as Chair for 2011 and Director Lance Hamblin, Chair, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako was confirmed by the Board as Vice Chair and Finance Committee Chair. Joining the Chair and Vice Chair on the Executive Committee is Director Gerald Wesley, Northwest Region and Director Stephanie Killam, Mayor of Mackenzie.

Following Northern Development’s board meeting in Terrace, members of the Board and staff attended Pacific Bioenergy Corporation’s employee gathering at the Kitwanga Lumber Company. The Kitwanga sawmill plans to begin operations in June 2011, after being closed since 2008. Pacific Bioenergy bought the mill and an area forest license out of receivership in September 2009. The start-up of the mill operation has been supported through Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Northern Industry Expansion Program.

Northern Development Vice Chair Lance Hamblin, Director Stephanie Killam, and Chief Executive Officer Janine North with some of the staff and management looking forward to the opening of the Kitwanga Lumber Company.

Projects approved at the April 27th, 2011 board meeting include:

Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Region Project Investments

Cariboo Chilcotin Agriculture Wind Production Feasibility Study –  BC Cattlemen’s Association – $18,000 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $63,000 project

This project has been designed to help determine under what circumstances small-scale wind energy projects (=50 kW rated capacity) are economically attractive in BC. To achieve this, the project will work with six agricultural producers served by hydroelectric and diesel-electricity in the Northern Development region to assess their site’s wind energy potential and economic feasibility. The project will also investigate creative ways to reduce the cost of wind energy production through aggregated purchasing agreements and maintenance programs, creative financing arrangements and available funding.

Agriculture Web Based Marketing Tool – Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition – $20,000 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $320,000 project

This project seeks to develop more viable agriculture business by building value chains for the produce being grown and subsequently connecting the growers with the buyers. With better information, value can be optimized by getting the producers to grow the right produce targeted to the right buyers at the right time. The marketing component will provide opportunities for growers to develop business relationships not only with other growers, but also with sector buyers. This cluster development work will be built into a web based tool that will link growers with markets inside and external to the Cariboo-Chilcotin including a live blog to enable “real time” sales and distribution development.

North Cariboo Multi-Centre – Cariboo Regional District – $2 million grant and $2 million loan from the North Cariboo allocation toward the $30 million project

The Multi-Centre project will create a 1600-seat climate controlled arena, a four hundred and fifty seat performing arts theatre with backstage facilities, and a meeting/convention space that will accommodate two hundred people.

The proposed grant funding would facilitate leveraging of additional funding for the estimated $30 million facility which could have significant short-term economic spin-offs in terms of construction jobs and new investments by private business in Quesnel. In the long-term, the Multi-Centre is hoped to be an economic catalyst for new types of business and entrepreneurial ventures by providing a needed public space for larger business meetings, as well as arts, cultural and sporting events.

Anahim Lake Airport Improvements – Cariboo Regional District – $100,000 grant from the Central Cariboo allocation toward the $739,640 project

Anahim Lake Airport provides essential air transportation infrastructure for the West Chilcotin. Constructing a new terminal building and paving 700’ of gravel runway extension will support the economic potential of the numerous tourism operators in the area who depend heavily on the airport.

Matching Grants to the Quesnel Community Foundation – Cariboo Regional District

A total of $200,000 will be committed from the North Cariboo allocation in matching donations to the Quesnel Community Foundation to benefit the following Cariboo Regional District Electoral areas:

In lieu of the Cariboo Regional District’s current Grants for Assistance program, the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Areas A, B, C, and I have each donated to the Quesnel Community Foundation. The donations will contribute to the general endowment of the Quesnel Community Foundation to strengthen its ability to give rurally and to support local community groups and non-profit organizations through grant-making. The Quesnel Community Foundation recently celebrated its tenth anniversary on April 9th, 2011 and the Cariboo Regional District’s donation along with Northern Development’s matching grant in the amount of $200,000 enabled the Foundation to reach over a million dollars in the endowment.

Nazko Community Hall Improvements – Nazko First Nation – $21,720 grant from the North Cariboo allocation toward the $65,820 project

Renovations to the Nazko Community Hall will include washrooms and a commercial kitchen to enable the hall to increase its functionality and to meet health and safety requirements.

Cache Creek Community Hall Renovations – Village of Cache Creek – $30,000 grant from the Village of Cache Creek allocation toward the $237,880 project

The Village of Cache Creek proposes to renovate their community hall to provide more efficient use of space for event hosting and user groups. The project will involve creating new office space and storage, and a meeting room that would accommodate eighty to one hundred people for meetings, training, workshops and activities.

Northeast Region Project Investments

Tumbler Ridge Airport Airfield Lighting System Rehabilitation ? District of Tumbler Ridge – $100,000 grant toward the $700,000 project

Tumbler Ridge is implementing lighting system improvements to ensure the airport is in compliance with Transport Canada and can service emergency and industrial flights.

Research Centre Renovations and Upgrades ? Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation – $100,000 grant toward the $535,000 project

The Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre renovations and upgrades will further increase its educational value and tourism revenues. Construction is underway on interior and exterior renovations, a new steel frame collection building, and improved areas for the specimen collections and for storage.

Wind Turbine Maintenance Program Training Tower – Northern Lights College – $100,000 grant, and $38,320 loan toward the $494,000 project

Northern Lights College will build a training tower for use in the Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program on the Dawson Creek campus adjacent to the new ‘Energy House’ facility that houses this program as well other courses related to renewable energy. The tower is designed to duplicate conditions faced by wind turbine technicians when repairing, maintaining, installing, or otherwise working on a wind turbine system “at height” (on top of a supporting tower). Students will take courses in confined space entry, wind turbine safety, high angle rescue, climbing, and proper use of protective gear. This highly specialized training will provide access to certified technicians for wind energy companies operating throughout BC.

Taylor Arena Upgrades – District of Taylor – $5,000 grant toward the $15,000 project

The District of Taylor is proposing to upgrade the Taylor Arena by installing glass and aluminum walls that will provide separation between the lobby and the ice surface. The project will provide a much higher level of comfort in the lobby area and will save up to 20% in energy consumption at the facility.

Taylor Community Hall Fitness Facility Expansion – District of Taylor – $10,000 grant toward the $30,000 project

The District of Taylor is proposing to further upgrade the community hall fitness facility to help improve the health of Taylor residents in keeping with the initiative started by the “Village on a Diet” television series.

Northwest Region Project Investments

Francois Lake Hall Modernization – Francois Tchesinkut Lake Recreation Commission – $30,000 grant from the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (Areas A, B, E, G) allocation toward the $208,699 project

The Francois Tchesinkut Lake Recreation Commission will modernize the ninety-six year old Francois Lake Hall’s kitchen and heating system to increase the number of community and training events held at the hall.

Prince George Region Project Investments

Transpo?North Conference Development and Marketing – Prince George Aboriginal Business Development Association – $8,071 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $33,250 project

The Prince George Aboriginal Business Development Association is working with the Prince George Citizen, Initiatives Prince George, and transportation/logistics companies to establish a new conference designed to emphasize the importance of transportation to northern BC, promote Prince George as a transportation hub, and promote the Asia Pacific Corridor in northern BC to a broader audience.

School District 91 Xianghe BC Offshore School Feasibility Study ? School District No. 91 Business Company – $20,000 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $76,000 project

School District 91 Business Company (Nechako Lakes) will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate and develop a business plan proposal to secure an opportunity to operate a British Columbia certified secondary school in Xianghe, China. The proposed school would open in 2013 and educate up to 1,000 students per year enrolled in grades ten through employing Canadian teachers hired by the School District 91. Students enrolled in the school will spend one year in Canada attending a high school within northern BC partner school districts and would be granted a BC Dogwood diploma upon graduation. The partnership would also facilitate substantial volumes of regional lumber being used in construction in Xianghe.

Fraser Lake Legion Kitchen Renovation – Royal Canadian Legion – Branch 274 (Fraser Lake) – $15,000 grant from the Village of Fraser Lake allocation toward the $90,563 project

The Fraser Lake (Pacific No. 274) Branch is a not-for-profit organization which has served the Village of Fraser Lake since 1971 and an extensive kitchen renovation project will serve seniors and not-for-profit organizations.

Crooked River?Parsnip Community Endowment – Regional District of Fraser?Fort George – $50,000 grant from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George allocation toward the $100,000 endowment

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George is establishing a new endowment for its Electoral Area ‘G’, the “Crooked River – Parsnip” rural area to support local social, cultural and environmental needs of the rural communities.

Northern Development Business Incentive Programs

Capital Investment and Training Rebate

The Capital Investment and Training Rebate program provides eligible businesses in wealth-creating, export-driven sectors of the economy with up to $5,000 per new job based on direct capital investment and training expenditures related to the expansion or establishment of a business where two or more new jobs are created. To date, twenty-four projects totaling $8,059,360 have been approved with a total project investment in the Northern Development region of $160,793,091.

Competitiveness Consulting Rebate

The Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program provides small and medium sized manufacturers, resource processing companies, and their first line suppliers with a rebate of 50% of the cost of business competitiveness consulting. This will increase productivity, revenues, and profitability for operations located within the Northern Development Initiative Trust region. To date, eighty-five projects totaling $620,952 have been approved resulting in a total project investment in the Northern Development region of $1,241,904.

Northern Industry Expansion Program

The Northern Industry Expansion Program is a loan guarantee partnership agreement that targets small and medium-sized businesses in central and northern BC’s resource processing, manufacturing and supply sectors. It provides eligible projects and borrowers with the opportunity to access loan guarantees from Northern Development for up to 25% of a loan with the Business Development Bank of Canada. A total of $15 million has been dedicated to this program by Northern Development. This loan guarantee program expands the capital pool available to small businesses in the region. To date, five projects totaling $1,803,750 have been approved resulting in a total project investment in the Northern Development region of $18,400,000.

To learn more about Northern Development Initiative Trust, visit: www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Janine North
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Telephone: 250.561.2525
Email: info@northerndevelopment.bc.ca