Northern Development board approves $240,000 in funding for business façade improvements

July 26, 2013

A dozen communities will receive $20,000 grants to partner with local businesses to improve the look and feel of commercial areas

Central and northern B.C. – Communities throughout the region have leapt at the chance to take advantage of Northern Development Initiative Trust’s new Business Façade Improvement program. The program, which was launched earlier this year, provides up to $20,000 annually to municipalities and regional districts throughout the Trust’s service area in central and northern B.C. The funding incents communities to partner with local businesses in their area to improve the look and feel of their commercial business areas. The Business Façade Improvement program supports visual improvements such as façades, signage, murals, architectural features, siding, lighting and awnings in an effort to enhance economic viability and vibrancy in central and northern B.C. communities.

Northern Development’s board of directors, which consists of elected representatives and provincial appointees from across central and northern B.C., this month approved funding for 12 applications to the program. The communities that will receive up to $20,000 Business Façade Improvement grants are:

Municipalities and regional districts that applied to the program were required to develop and submit their business façade improvement plan/guidelines to Northern Development prior to approval. Those guidelines provide direction to local business owners about the eligibility criteria to obtain the business façade improvement grant. In addition to the look and feel of communities, the program also supports private sector investment in local business improvement and will result in increased assessed values and tax bases as a result of improved properties.

Businesses interested in partnering with their municipality on façade improvements must be located in one of the 12 communities approved for funding and must contact their local municipal representative for further program details.


“Northern Development is proud to continue to work with communities throughout the region to build a stronger north,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Like all of our funding programs, the Business Façade Improvement program represents a true partnership between the Trust and the communities we serve, supporting more vibrant businesses that help drive economic development.”

“This incentive is a tremendous opportunity for business owners to improve the appearance of the buildings on their property,” said City of Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem. “These improvements will help attract and retain tenants and enhance the quality of life that residents, workers and visitors to Prince Rupert enjoy.”

“The District of Wells is pleased to work with the Northern Development Initiative Trust on the Business Façade Improvement program,” said District of Wells Mayor Robin Sharpe. “It will help and encourage many local businesses to spruce up the exteriors of their shops to present an appealing look to our historic community for the thousands of visitors who pass by each summer.”

“The Village of Burns Lake is proud to partner with Northern Development on this program, which will help celebrate and support the fantastic local businesses in our community,” said Village of Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold.

“Smithers is widely known for its character Main Street and downtown, which are among our most important economic assets. By helping local businesses enhance their building façades, this program will bring benefits to the entire community,” said Town of Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach.

“A sincere thank you to Northern Development Initiative Trust for their continued investment in the north. We are extremely pleased that our grant application was successful and that we are able to provide this type of assistance,” said City of Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom.

“The City of Williams Lake is excited to partner with our home-grown businesses to enhance the look and feel of our community. We’re grateful to Northern Development for providing the funding to make this project happen,” said City of Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook.

“Lytton is already a destination for tourists travelling up the Fraser Canyon every year, and this funding support will help the village partner with local businesses to enhance our community,” said Village of Lytton Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot.

“The City of Fort St. John is proud to partner with Northern Development Initiative Trust on bringing more dollars into our community to support local business and ensure that, as the city grows, it remains an attractive destination for residents, visitors and entrepreneurs,” said City of Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman.

“Thank you to Northern Development Initiative Trust for supporting our grant funding application,” said Village of Port Clements Mayor Wally Cheer. “This funding will support and strengthen the businesses that call Port Clements home.”

“McBride is already known for its attractive Main Street, and this funding will help our local businesses thrive and welcome new visitors and entrepreneurs,” said Village of McBride Mayor Mike Frazier.

“The grant funding provided by Northern Development Initiative Trust will further strengthen Fort St. James’ reputation as one of British Columbia’s premier historic tourism destinations and support our local businesses,” said District of Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall.

“As the capital of northern British Columbia, Prince George is already a destination for young families, visitors and entrepreneurs,” said City of Prince George Mayor Shari Green. “This funding to improve business façades will further strengthen our community and show the world that Prince George truly is a place that offers dreams, opportunity and affordability.”

“This program is yet another way in which Northern Development is partnering with communities and businesses to improve the health and vibrancy of our region,” said Renata King, Director, Business Development, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Media Contact:

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Tel:  250.561.2525
Cell:  778.349.4027

About Northern Development

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 date, $114 million in funding has been committed to 1,212 projects in communities throughout central and northern British Columbia.

  • 5,856 jobs have been created.
  • 2,074 partnerships with 707 organizations have attracted over $1.1 billion in new investment to the region.
  • 73% of investments are in small communities with populations less than 5,000.
  • Community grant writers have been approved for $76.9 million in funding since 2010.

For information on Northern Development and the community economic development projects being led in communities throughout northern B.C., visit: