Government of Canada Works With Northern Development Initiative Trust to Invest in Over 1,100 Northern British Columbia Jobs

August 25, 2009

Prince George, British Columbia – On August 24, 2009, The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, The Honourable Jay Hill, MP for Prince George Peace River and the Leader of Government in the House of Commons, and Bruce Sutherland, Chair of Northern Development Initiative Trust announced business loan funding of almost $20 million towards seven businesses investing $67.8 million in capital improvements throughout central and northern British Columbia and creating many new jobs in resource dependent communities.

The Government of Canada, through the Community Adjustment Fund, provided $20 million in repayable contributions to the Northern Development Initiative Trust to support the most affected communities in central and northern BC, helping to reduce the short-term impacts of the economic downturn. Projects include support for the forestry industry, energy efficiency initiatives and health sector improvements.

“I’m pleased to announce our Government’s support for these seven projects,” said Minister Raitt. “Investments such as these are creating and protecting jobs, supporting Canadians who have lost their jobs, helping threatened industries and laying the foundations for the future prosperity of our regions.”

The Honourable Lisa Raitt PC, MP, Minister of Natural Resources, The Honourable Jay Hill, PC, MP, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Northern Development Chair Bruce Sutherland, and Northern Development CEO Janine North meet with executives of companies that will create over 1,100 jobs with the support of the Federal Government’s Community Adjustment Fund.
(Participants listed from left to right)  Minister Lisa Raitt, Craig Lodge-President, Pinnacle Pellet Inc.,  Gary Oker-Vice President, Doig River Environmental Limited Partnership, Ken Shields-CEO, Conifex Inc., Chief Norman Davis-Doig River First Nations,  David Fehr-President, Northwest Wood Preservers , Dan McLaren-President, Commonwealth Health Corporation, Leroy Reitsma-Vice President, Pinnacle Pellet Inc., Brian Fehr-CEO, BID Group of Companies, Bob Derksen-Vice President Sales, Del-Tech Manufacaturing Inc., Paul Heit-General Manager, Vanderhoof Speciality Wood Products, Northern Development Chair Bruce Sutherland, Northern Development CEO Janine North, Minister Jay Hill, Kalin Urich-Vice-President, Conifex Inc.

This Government is taking action to ensure communities succeed at this time of economic slowdown,” said Minister Hill. “Today’s announcement will help our region emerge from this challenging time prosperous and stronger than ever.”

“Our resource and manufacturing industries are the base of our economy. $20 million in repayable funding from the Community Adjustment Fund is spurring $67.8 million in total capital investment in our region; creating and maintaining 1136 person years of employment in our region over the next two years.This is a tremendous good news story that Northern Development Initiative Trust is pleased to partner with the Federal Government to deliver,” said Bruce Sutherland, Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

With the initial $10 million investment, Northern Development and Western Economic Diversification announced non-repayable contributions to 23 projects ranging from tourism infrastructure improvements to the expansion of a mobile poultry processor. All of these projects announced on August 11, 2009 are creating jobs in the immediate future, ensuring that British Columbians are able to return to work and provide economic stability to their community and families. This brings to $30 million the total amount of funding that Northern Development Initiative Trust is delivering out to central and northern BC for the Federal Government.

From a tremendously large list of business applications, Northern Development Initiative Trust staff completed due diligence and financial reviews. The Board made decisions to allocate the $20 million in business loans to seven regional businesses that were aligned with the Federal Government goal of achieving the most employment at the lowest federal dollar cost per job, and growing the regional economy. The loans will be repaid over the next five years to Northern Development who will submit all repayments to Western Economic Diversification.

Conifex Inc.

Conifex Inc. will receive a repayable contribution of $8,500,000 for a $32 million capital project to re-modernize their lumber drying and finishing equipment for the Asian export market where they are already shipping the majority of their production since the mill started up in March 2009. The installation of more sophisticated technology available in lumber drying, finishing and grading will allow for more value-added products to be produced in Fort St. James. These products, along with their focus away from US markets, will allow the company to move to a two shift operation resulting in 60 new employees at the mill, 100 new jobs involved in logging and fibre delivery, and 46 fabrication and construction jobs.

“The support Conifex received today from the Federal Government accelerates our plans to strengthen our product offering to off-shore markets, reduce our reliance on natural gas, and move towards a two shift operation at our sawmill. This is great news for Conifex, the community of Fort St. James, and also the logging contractors and suppliers that are so important to our business and this economy,” said CEO Ken Shields.

Northwest Wood Preservers

Northwest Wood Preservers will receive a repayable contribution of $2,000,000 towards constructing a $5.5 million pellet plant at the Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products value-added finger joint lumber plant. The pellet plant will utilize 100% of the residual waste from the fingerjoint plant which primarily uses lumber trim ends from beetle killed forests. The initiative aims to maintain 12 jobs at a local trucking company, as well as create 12 jobs at the pellet plant and 20 temporary construction jobs.

Northwest Wood Preservers President David Fehr said, “The Community Adjustment Fund business loan will secure 60 jobs at Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products and 12 jobs at Lazer Transport. In addition, the capital expenditure will create 12 new permanent jobs at the pellet plant and 30 jobs in the capital construction phase. This capital expenditure will help diversify the product mix for the company which will improve its competitive advantage, particularly in down market conditions. The fingerjoint lumber and specialty mill has been a major employer in the community of Vanderhoof since 1991.”

Pinnacle Pellet Williams Lake Inc.

Pinnacle Pellet Williams Lake Inc. will recieve a repayable contribution of $1,935,000 towards a $6.8 million capital investment building and installing a new biomass decontamination, preparation and dehydration system to facilitate 90,000 additional tonnes of ground-up beetle killed timber per year. With the addition of the new system, Pinnacle Pellet will hire five additional permanent high-paying jobs in the plant. In addition, there will be new jobs created for the duration of the fabrication and construction phase. Once the new system is in place, the plant will be able to process more wood, which will create 20 additional indirect jobs in the logging and trucking industry.

Pinnacle Pellet Meadowbank Inc.

Pinnacle Pellet Meadowbank Inc. will receive a repayable contribution of $250,000 to install a $733,000 biomass decontamination and preperation system to its plant on Highway 97 between Prince George and Quesnel. By adding this system to the plant, Pinnacle Pellet will be able to utilize additional processed fibre directly from logging operations, while reducing additional repair and maintenance costs caused by fibres contaminated by rocks and metal debris. The installation of the new system will create five new jobs, training opportunities, and more logging, chipping and trucking jobs to supply the plant.

Craig Lodge, President of Pinnacle Pellet stated, “We are most pleased to be a funding recipient from Northern Development Initiative Trust. Our company, a wood pellet producer, will truly benefit from this federal program. As we transition to the expanded use of forest debris biomass, there will be elevated levels of forest worker employment associated with this endeavour. We commend the Northern Development on its ability to effectively fulfill its mandate and, in particular, the delivery of the federal program within very compressed timeframes.”

Commonwealth Health Corporation

The Commonwealth Health Corporation will receive a repayable contribution of $1,000,000 towards a major $3.25 million downtown redevelopment initiative in Prince George. Funding will renovate an existing Prince George building to accomodate the Commonwealth Medical Centre. Project work will include complete interior renovations and minor outer facade upgrades. Once complete, the medical centre will provide a variety of integrated medical services to the community, support the Northern Cancer Centre and be a cornerstone development in the revitalization of Prince George’s downtown core.

"We are honored to have been chosen to participate in the CAF Program. Commonwealth has long been committed to the well being of Prince George. We see the establishment of the Commonwealth Health Centre as a logical ‘next-step’ in the betterment of our city," stated Commonwealth Health Corporation President Daniel McLaren.

Del-Tech Manufacturing Inc.

Del-Tech Manufacturing Inc. will recieve a repayable contribution of $5,500,000 to build a $15 million thermal oil plant which will be leased to Canfor’s Mackenzie sawmill to increase its energy efficiency and lower dependence on fossil fuels. This will create and maintain over 100 short term fabrication and construction jobs and 140 sawmill production jobs, as well as stabilizing work for logging and trucking contractors.

Del-Tech President Brian Fehr stated, “Federal funding for Del-Tech Manufacturing Inc.’s Thermal Oil Energy Project in Mackenzie, BC, will provide Del-Tech the opportunity to move forward with a $15 million energy project at a major sawmill. This project will create and maintain 3,762 person months of employment over the next two years in one of the province’s hardest hit communities, keep skilled people working in Northern BC’s bio-energy community, and enable Del-Tech to weather the economic difficulties brought on by the world-wide financial crisis. This project will also have an impact on the environment through the reduction of approximately 35,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per annum.”

Doig River Environmental Limited Partnership

Doig River Environmental Ltd. Partnership will receive a repayable contribution of $614,301 to develop a $5 million – 32.5 hectare secure landfill facility in northeastern British Columbia near Fort St. John. The new facility will address the environmental concerns held by the Doig River First Nations (DRFN) in the area regarding contaminated soil, provide a cost effective solution to oil and gas producers operating in the area, create additional revenue for the DRFN and other local First Nations, and increase employment within the First Nations communities in the area. This project received environmental certification in 2008 and is expected to employ 20 individuals for the construction period, and then create five to eight new full-time jobs at the landfill. It will also support up to 20 new service contract jobs to deliver contaminated soil and monitor clean-up work plans.

“Doig River Environmental is a First Nation company that is taking action to provide a meaningful opportunity to set a consultation standard by bringing all contaminated soil to one central location and research new ways to address contaminated land. With our industry partners, we can diverse employment and training opportunities and committing to higher learning by utilizing science and technology in design, monitoring, and reclaiming traditional lands. The Elders support the landfill solution and/or treatment of this soil for future generations to exercise their treaty rights. We thank the Federal Government and Northern Development for their support to our business,” said CEO Terry Aven of D.R.E. Oilfield Services.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan will provide a total of $1 billion over two years to communities throughout Canada, including $306 million across Western Canada under the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF). The fund will help reduce the short-term impacts of restructuring in communities across Canada heavily reliant on resource-based industries, including forestry, mining, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as communities that depend on the manufacturing sector.

Northern Development Initiative Trust is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia.

To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit

To learn more about Northern Development Initiative Trust, visit:

For media enquiries, contact:

Janine North
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Phone: 250-561-2525

Donna Howes
Manager, Communications
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Phone: 604-666-1318
Cell: 604-505-6616