PRINCE GEORGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — June 24, 2008 — Northern Development announced today $300,000 in grant funding through its Pine Beetle Recovery Program provided to the Village of Valemount for a downtown revitalization project that will restructure and revive its main commercial street in order to attract new investment and property development.
Mayor Jeanette Townsend stated, “This project is a cornerstone in Valemount’s efforts to further diversify its economy by investing in tourism related initiatives. We are appreciative of Northern Development’s partnership in this project and look forward to the future development that this initial investment will bring.”
Northern Development will provide the Village of Valemount with the $300,000 grant contribution for the Downtown Revitalization project which has a total budget of $1,951,000. This results in a leveraging ratio of $1 Trust funds to $5.50 other sources – well above Northern Development’s goal of $1 to $2.50. The initiative is expected to result in the attraction of new capital investment to the community, including the establishment of new businesses, as well as an increase to the number of visitors to the recreational destination. The property and development concept was identified in the 1999 Official Community Plan as enhancing and supporting tourism in the area, helping to grow and diversify the local economy.
Bruce Sutherland, Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust, offered his congratulations to the community and its project partners. “On behalf of our Board, I would like to extend our support to the Village of Valemount and thank the project proponents for providing Northern Development with the opportunity to participate in this diversification strategy. We have had the opportunity to work with Valemount successfully in the past on projects like the construction of the Valemount Visitor Information and Interpretive Centre, and given what that project has done for the tourism sector in the area, we are excitedly awaiting the positive results that this downtown revitalization initiative will bring about.”
In 2005, the Province of British Columbia recognized the devastation to the forests of the interior region of the Province caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. The Premier announced a $50 million Provincial contribution to the Northern Development Initiative Trust, including $30 million for the Trust to specifically dedicate to projects aimed at helping communities respond to the impact of the infestation. Today, the strategic investment of the Pine Beetle Recovery Program has grown to $33.4 million. Since creation of the Program, Northern Development Initiative Trust has provided $8.5 million in Pine Beetle Recovery Program funding for 38 projects with a total value of $47.7 million focused on community and economic development in regions affected by the epidemic.