Northern Development funds its 1,000th project

September 11, 2012

PRINCE GEORGE – Seven years. 5,154 jobs created. 1,778 funding partnerships. Nearly 3,000 grant writers supported to access funding for their communities. More than $1 billion in new funding to the region – and Northern Development Initiative Trust has the same amount of money in the bank today as it did when it was first created.

Thanks to the support of more than 40 municipalities, nine regional districts, one regional municipality and dozens of First Nations and businesses, Northern Development is well positioned to develop and deliver critical grant, loan and capacity building programs that support community and economic development for years to come.

“Achieving the milestone of funding 1,000 projects that build a stronger north across communities throughout central and northern B.C. is an inspiring achievement for the communities we serve and our staff,” said Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “We have reached a 10-year strategic goal in just seven short years and the momentum is only getting stronger.”

When the provincial government passed legislation to create Northern Development in late 2004 (operations began in 2005), it was established with the premise that, “the best economic development decisions for the north should be made in the north.”

Since that time, the Trust, in partnership with a board of directors and regional advisory committees that consist of stakeholders throughout the region, has successfully stewarded its $185 million capital base to build a stronger northern economy – investing in airport upgrades, skilled trades and training programs, tourism initiatives and community halls and recreation facilities, among other projects.

“Seven years ago, I became involved as a founding member of the Northeast Regional Advisory Committee through my role as the mayor of Chetwynd,” recalled Northern Development board chairman and former Chetwynd mayor Evan Saugstad. “At that time, little did I know that not only would I still be involved with the Trust, but that we would now be one of the most successful organizations of its kind anywhere, and that I would be welcoming our 1,000th funding initiative and project.

“On behalf of the board, I wish to congratulate and thank the communities, our staff and, most of all, our project partners who make us the success that we are.”

Through its competitiveness consulting rebate program, the Trust was able to help the plant hire highly qualified consultants to develop food safety systems, human resource manuals, operating procedures and a marketing plan to ensure a successful startup. Ray Gerow, CEO of the Heiltsuk Economic Development Corp., said Northern Development’s contribution was a huge benefit to the community.

“This project is much more than just a fish plant – it is the backbone of our efforts to revitalize the central coast fishing and marine industry, and will be the main driver for the economy of this village,” Gerow said.
Building on the success of the last seven years, the team at Northern Development plans to continue forging new partnerships throughout the province to build a stronger north for decades to come.

Quotes from regional MLAs:

“Northern Development Initiative Trust has been a catalyst for economic development with its use of innovative approaches while protecting the funding envelope for future generations,” said Pat Bell, Liberal MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie.

“The 1,000th project milestone is a real tribute to the hard work and dedication of all communities in the north,” said Gary Coons, New Democrat MLA for North Coast. “The premise of initiating economic development by northerners for northerners highlights how working together we can invest in a sustainable future.”

“Northern Communities have seen great benefit from the additional financial support and opportunities the Northern Development Initiative Trust has provided since its creation,” said Shirley Bond, Liberal MLA for Prince George-Valemount.

“The model used for the Northern Development Initiative Trust is successful, in part because local and regional communities are at the table and community economic development is a major part of the discussion,” said Doug Donaldson, New Democrat MLA for Stikine.

“Funding secured through Northern Development Initiative Trust has helped communities across the north with projects and planning that may not have otherwise been possible without these partnerships,” said Blair Lekstrom, Liberal MLA for Peace River South.

“These projects help support community development throughout northern British Columbia,” said Bob Simpson, Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

“We’re thrilled the Beacon Theatre in Burns Lake is part of your 1,000 projects that support the north!” said John Rustad, Liberal MLA for Nechako Lakes.

“The Northern Development Initiative Trust has been fantastic for all of our northern communities and has supported many projects in a real way,” said Pat Pimm, Liberal MLA for Peace River North.

“Your focus on attracting new investment has served us very well,” said Donna Barnett, Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “Congratulations on your 1,000th project!”

New Democrat MLAs Robin Austin (Skeena) and Harry Lali (Fraser-Nicola) also congratulated the Northern Development Initiative Trust on its 1,000th project.

Media Contact:

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Tel: 250-561-2824
Cell: 1-778-349-4027

For more information or to share your story about living and working in central and northern B.C., visit our website at You can also connect with us on social media to share your stories and help build a stronger north!