Northern Development announces over $1.8 million in approved funding for economic development projects in Northern B.C.

April 29, 2020

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Northern Development today announced the approval of $1,872,266 for 10 projects throughout its service region that seek to strengthen their communities and the economy.

At its April 22 meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved the following projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program.

$75,000 was approved for the Vanderhoof Flying Club for the acquisition of an airport aviation fuel system currently located at the Vanderhoof Airport. To enable present and future aviation operations in Vanderhoof, the Vanderhoof Flying Club will purchase and operate the public fuel supply. Profits will go towards the expansion of the flying school and to grow the capability of the school to higher levels of qualification for pilots.

$93,089 was approved for the Graham Island East Cost Farmers Institute for a Masset Market and Artisan Co-op. This project involves the renovation of a vacant building on Masset’s main street into a year-round, indoor home for the Masset Market and a studio/gallery space for a brand-new artisans co-op. The proposed building renovations include new roofing and siding, roll-up garage doors, new windows and doors, new interior walls, a second washroom, an expanded awning and a wooden deck.

$125,000 was approved for the District of Vanderhoof for airfield rehabilitation at the Vanderhoof Airport. The proposed project includes asphalt overlay to the existing surface of the apron and taxiways, culvert replacement and replacement of apron edge lights. Timely maintenance and repair of the surfaces is essential in maintaining load-carrying capacity, good ride quality and good friction characteristics under all weather conditions.

$125,000 was approved for the City of Williams Lake for passenger terminal updates at the Williams Lake Regional Airport. This project includes improvements to the facade of the exterior walls, repairs to concrete barriers and access points, improvements to the signage of the building and energy efficiency improvements to the envelope of the building. The Williams Lake Regional Airport is one of the city’s highest priorities for growth and there is potential for this site to provide development and revenue generation for the area.

$204,177 was approved for the District of Chetwynd for the Chetwynd and District Recreation Centre indoor creative hub. This project will see the installation of a new indoor children’s play facility within the Chetwynd and District Recreation Centre, in partnership with the Peace River Regional District. The project will include the supply and installation of a new high-end play structure, a parent welcoming area, climbing wall enhancements, rubber flooring and indoor play equipment. The indoor play area will be added to the entrance of the facility and offer many opportunities for play and engagement.

$250,000 was approved for the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association (PRGA) to assist in the renovation of a leased space in Prince Rupert to accommodate a new gymnastics facility. The PRGA requires a larger space in order to expand its program offerings and enhance its economic benefits to the city and region. The new facility will support the expansion of the co-ed recreational program, expansion of the female competitive team, and development of a new male competitive team, as well as additional community programming and events rentals.

$250,000 was approved for the Shackan Indian Band for the Shackan Nursery expansion. The band is expanding operations at its nursery to increase production capacity in order to keep up with demand. Northern Development’s funding will be allocated toward the purchase and installation of two new greenhouses and irrigation systems. The complete project includes site clearing and preparation, site servicing, relocating and recovering the existing greenhouses, installation of two new 600 m2 polycarbonate greenhouses and the purchase of a temporary structure to serve as a bathroom, administrative office and first aid station.

$250,000 was approved for Esk’etemc First Nation for the Esk’etemc store and café renovation. The store is open seven days a week for fuel and convenience items, while the cafe within the building is currently open four days a week for lunch service only. The Nation believes that updates through this project will make the store and cafe more appealing to customers and will result in higher business revenue on a daily basis. This project includes energy efficient entry doors, new durable ceiling panels, interior lighting systems, LED lighting, emergency exits/exterior lighting, accessibility upgrades, safety lighting at entrances, new exterior siding and fascia board.

$250,000 was approved for the City of Quesnel for the Quesnel Food Innovation Hub. This food hub, Sprout Kitchen, will be part of a large, inter-connected network of food hubs within B.C. This network provides food growers/producers, beverage and natural health product entrepreneurs in B.C. with the expertise, resources and tools to innovate and commercialize products to start or expand their local business. The project involves renovations to a commercial business space including electrical, cabinetry, plumbing, refrigeration, lighting and much more. Also included is the purchase of initial equipment required to open a commissary kitchen.

$250,000 was approved for the City of Quesnel for the Quesnel and District Museum renovation. The renovations will both increase the accessibility and safety of the facility. The renovations will greatly increase the flow and walkability of the area, leading visitors through the museum and exiting through the gift shop. This project includes the removal of asbestos floor, upgraded lighting, a fully accessible washroom, updated furnishings, a new ventilation system and more.


Joel McKay, CEO of Northern Development Initiative Trust

“During these uncertain times, the Trust is fortunate to be able to provide funding to communities and organizations in our region for valuable community projects. From airport and museum upgrades, to innovative food networks and nursery expansions, each project provides both economic and public benefits for those who live and work in Northern B.C.”

Mayor Gerry Thiessen, District of Vanderhoof

“The District of Vanderhoof is thankful for this incredible financial commitment to this valuable asset for our region. The airport has provided quick access for those wanting to get to resource areas of our region for the last 75 years. In the last decade council has seen an opportunity to redevelop this asset and we thank NDIT for sharing our vision with this grant.”

Jackie Touchet, President, Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association

“The Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association is over the moon excited to be a recipient of the NDIT grant!  These funds are going to enable us to construct a state-of-the-art facility to provide gymnastics in a safe environment to many kids in our community.  Prince Rupert will be the hub of gymnastics in the north.”

Mayor Allen Courtoreille, District of Chetwynd

“The indoor play park was identified a few years ago by the community as a priority project; we appreciate all the people who wrote letters of support and rallied around this project. District of Chetwynd mayor and council heartily agree that active play is vital for physical development in children and we are so grateful for this grant that will allow us to build an indoor play park to provide a safe play environment for young children in Chetwynd.”

Chief Jordan Joe, Shackan Indian Band
“This grant is significant to Shackan because it allows us to expand the Shackan Nursery to double its current size. This promotes economic development for the Shackan band as well as the ability to still track, harvest and grow native species, plants and medicines our people have been utilizing for generations. The grant allows Shackan to move the current facility to a new location that will potentially double it’s size, further opportunities and move another step closer to self sufficiency.”

Media Contact

Holly Plato
Director, Communications and Marketing
Northern Development Initiative Trust