Northern Development announces more than $500,000 for economic development projects in Northern B.C.

August 8, 2019

Northern Development Initiative Trust is pleased to announce it has approved over a half a million dollars for economic development projects in its service region.

At their July 23 meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved the following projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program:

$76,760 was approved for the Williams Lake Indian Band for renovations to the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium. This project will include the purchase and installation of new flooring, new air conditioning and heating systems, commercial grade kitchen equipment and new bathroom fixtures. The Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium is a vital cultural and community centre where numerous events and activities take place year-round. These upgrades will provide increased opportunities to rent the gymnasium for additional events, such as sports tournaments and private functions.

$79,094 was approved for the Metlakatla First Nation for the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail Structure rehabilitation project. The 21 km trail has been closed since 2015 due to safety concerns following a severe storm. With these funds, the trail will see much needed repairs to its three suspension bridges and its 72-foot viewing tower. Over 1,000 visitors from Northern BC frequented the trail when it was open, contributing to the local economy through hotel stays, restaurant visits and other tourism related benefits. The trail is expected to re-open May 2020.

$125,000 was approved for the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to equip the newly built Upper Skeena Recreation Centre (USRC). Northern Development provided $250,000 to the regional district for the initial construction of the USRC. These additional funds will go towards meeting room equipment, bench seating, bleachers, floor covering, fitness mats, among other assets. This project will support recreational programming and the availability of rental spaces for events and meetings, which will create revenue and sustain the facility.

$250,000 was approved for the North Peace Airport Society for the North Peace Regional Airport runway rehabilitation project. The existing pavement on one of the two runways has not been significantly improved for over 20 years and needs substantial repairs and rehabilitation. Without the improved runway, airport operation would be in jeopardy which would negatively impact the economy of the North Peace Region and B.C. Current commercial air carriers with routes to the North Peace Regional Airport include Air Canada, WestJet, and Central Mountain Air.

The next intake deadline for the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program is October 31, 2019.


Margo Wagner, chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust
“The board is pleased to support these worthwhile projects throughout our service region, with half of the approved Economic Diversification Infrastructure projects directly benefitting First Nations communities.”

Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
“These projects will directly benefit communities and surrounding areas for years to come. Sustainable economic improvements are the key to developing attractive and desirable places to live and work.”

Phil Germuth, chair, Regional District Kitimat Stikine
“We’re very thankful for the Trust’s commitment of funds to our project. It recognizes the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre’s economic potential and what it can bring to the local community and the region.”

Jim McKnight, president, North Peace Airport Society
“The Northern Development Initiative Trust’s (NDIT’s) contribution recognizes the significance of the North Peace Regional Airport as a socio-economic enabler for the region. Our Regional Airport supports many major projects and industries to thrive in the North. We are very grateful for NDIT’s grant funding and look forward to the rehabilitation of the runway.”

Marg Shelley, CAO, Williams Lake Indian Band
“The Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium is an integral facility in our community and serves many purposes. With this grant from Northern Development, we can make significant improvements to the gymnasium which will only increase opportunities for the Williams Lake Indian Band and surrounding communities.”

Media Contact

Anna Duff
Communications Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust