Northern Development approves $2.1M for community development projects in Northern B.C.

August 3, 2021

Recipients include three First Nations, three municipal governments and four non-profits

August 3, 2021

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – During their July board meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved $2,077,333 for 10 community development projects in their service region.

In the short term, approximately 190 temporary construction and consulting jobs are expected to be created throughout the region to help bring each of these projects to fruition.

The following projects were approved:

$60,000 through the Northern Housing Incentive grant program for the District of Houston. This funding allows the District of Houston to develop a ‘Dollars to the Door’ program to incentivize the development of six new rental homes in Pleasant Valley Village, an independent seniors’ housing complex. All the homes will be accessible to those who use mobility aids. This development allows seniors to downsize their home while remaining in the community and will make their single family detached homes available to those looking to purchase a house in Houston.

$117,937 was approved for the City of Dawson Creek through the Recreation Infrastructure grant program for facility improvements at the Kenn Borek Aquatic Centre. The project will include upgrading the lockers in the universal changerooms, resurfacing flooring in the main entrance, lobby, party room and front desk area. This is the third grant Northern Development has approved for the aquatic centre, after disbursing $50,000 in 2019 for upgrades to the diving board area and $50,000 in 2018 for improvements to patron-related infrastructure to improve the guest experience.

$120,000 was approved for the Town of Smithers through the Northern Housing Incentive funding program. The grant will be given to the developer of a new 12-unit multi-family residential development on a 1.5-acre parcel of land near the east end of Railway Avenue. The lot will include a 0.29 parkland for public use and three four-plexes that will be designed as two-bedroom townhouses.

$135,875 was approved through the Economic Infrastructure grant program to the Saulteau First Nations for the purchase and installation of a modular, commercial hydroponic greenhouse system. This project will increase food security in the community, promote food sovereignty, provide an accessible platform for health and nutrition education while creating employment and training opportunities for community members. Plants grow faster in a hydroponic greenhouse than traditional farming and produce can be grown from seed to mature plant in less than six weeks. It is anticipated that 500 units of produce will be made available every week to community members once the system in full operation.

$145,125 was approved for Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation for the purchase and installation of a commercial hydroponic growing system for the community of Klemtu. This project will reliably provide fresh, nutritious produce and culturally relevant crops to community members at an affordable price through the subsidized community food box program. The hydroponic greenhouse will also generate revenues for Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation through retail sales. Currently, there is no suitable option to grow local produce in the community and a produce shipment arrives once a week to the one store in the community and sells out immediately. This project will help ensure community members have regular access to healthy, fresh produce.

$298,396 was approved through the Recreation Infrastructure program for Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club Society for the construction of a 30 by 50-foot day lodge with an attached deck. After several years of fundraising and planning, the project is shovel ready and soon cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other users in Beatton Provincial Park will have a warm, bright and welcoming facility to enjoy before and after spending time on the trails. The new facility will also allow the ski club to expand programming and events.

$300,000 was approved for the third phase of Caledonia Nordic Ski Club’s snow making expansion through the Recreation Infrastructure grant program. Expected to be complete in Fall 2022, this is the third phase of a very successful snow making infrastructure upgrade and will result in an additional eight kilometres of trails being covered by snow with the purchase of six new snow guns and additional infrastructure. Snow making provides early, predictable and sustainable snow, which is crucial for event hosting, increasing membership and employing seasonal staff for longer periods. Once the project is complete, Caledonia Nordic Ski Club will have one of the largest, most advanced and efficient Nordic snow making systems in Canada.

$300,000 was approved for the Prince George Airport Authority through the Economic Infrastructure grant program. The project will expand and transform the current cafeteria-style food and beverage area in the airport to accommodate a local full-service restaurant and bar, bakery, chocolatier, catering and grab-and-go business. As a result, the airport will be able to offer travelers increased services, create new jobs and generate new revenues for the Airport Authority. The proposed concessionaire is already an established and reputable catering business in Prince George and the new facilities will help showcase the best of what Prince George has to offer.

$300,000 was approved through the Cultural Infrastructure program for Saik’uz First Nation to relocate and renovate a building to create a cultural centre for the Saik’uz community. The centre will provide a place for Saik’uz people to showcase their culture, heritage and artifacts to locals and visitors. Local artisans will also be provided with a place to display and sell their products. Employment opportunities will be created through new food service offerings and cultural programming that will be hosted at the centre to help strengthen a sense of community.

$300,000 was approved for the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Society through the Cultural Infrastructure grant program for the construction of a permanent multi-use interpretive centre. The project will support the development and diversification of the Tumbler Ridge region and help meet the 2022 UNESCO revalidation requirements, which will enable it to retain its economically vital, coveted UNESCO status as a place of paleontological, historical and geological world importance. The new centre will include permanent displays, outdoor interpretive area, community gathering space with performance stage and a café.


Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
“These approvals support our vision of Northern B.C. having growing, energetic communities by investing $2.1 million into crucial infrastructure and housing projects. By improving housing options and increasing food security, communities will be able to better retain and attract residents. Other projects allow communities to celebrate and share their culture, history and skills, increasing vibrancy and creating opportunities for economic development and diversification.”

Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
“From improving food security in Klemtu to building new, accessible homes for seniors in Houston, the approval of funding for these diverse projects will go a long way in supporting the unique needs of communities in central and northern B.C. As B.C. continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, these important projects provide optimism for the future.”

Mayor Shane Brienen, District of Houston
“The construction of six new rental units for seniors in Pleasant Valley Village is a significant step in allowing seniors in our community to age in place. Centrally located in Houston’s downtown core, residents will have walkable access to services such as health care, recreation and social services. This incentive grant makes the construction project more affordable for the Houston Retirement Housing Society and the benefits will be far-reaching as seniors wishing to downsize will be able to sell their current homes, increasing the housing stock that is available on the market.”

Chief Douglas Neasloss, Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation
“For too long, we have struggled with regularly accessing fresh, nutritious vegetables for our community members. Operating a commercial hydroponics greenhouse in Kitasoo allows us to provide food security, promote food sovereignty and share culturally relevant crops. Quality food benefits the body, mind and soul and we are grateful for the opportunity to support our community through the provision of fresh food. Additionally, this project will focus on training local members to manage and operate the greenhouse and distributing the produce to their community.”

Manda Maggs, executive director, Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Society
“Constructing a modern, accessible and welcoming interpretive centre in Tumbler Ridge will go a long way in supporting regional tourism, improving local infrastructure, supporting entrepreneurship and providing economic stability. As natural resource prices continue to fluctuate around the globe, this project offers economic diversification for the region while building on the Peace’s growing reputation as a tourism destination.”