Northern Development Initiative Trust approves nearly $1 million for economic initiatives in Northern B.C.

May 1, 2019

Northern Development approved four major projects in its service region that will support and strengthen the local economy through its Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program.

At their April 24 meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved funding for the following projects:

$250,000 was approved for Coast Mountain College (CMTN), Terrace Campus, for the construction of a new community recreation centre. This centre will be accessible by the public and will provide cardio machines, free weights, an open workout zone and a separate room for group activities. There has been a demonstrated demand for a fitness centre that services the greater Terrace area. By opening its doors to the external community, CMTN expects to generate new revenue that will complement existing revenues through student housing, food services and event rentals.

$250,000 was approved for the District of Houston to replace the refrigeration plant at the Claude Parish Memorial Arena. The current system will be upgraded with a new efficient, low charge ammonia refrigeration plant. The arena has been home to hockey, figure skating, ringette and other activities, such as the Minerals North Conference, since the 1970s. The current ammonia plant is outdated and needs to be replaced in order to meet WorkSafe BC standards. The new refrigeration plant will ensure the arena remains a vital part of the community.

$218,000 was approved for the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation for the renovation and modernization of the Dog Creek Community Store. This project will include the installation of professional grade kitchen equipment, along with new energy efficient freezers and refrigerators. These improvements will allow the store to cater parties, events and meetings in and around the First Nation. It will also encourage community members to do most of their shopping locally, rather than having to travel elsewhere for groceries. Improving the store is a crucial part of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem diversifying their economic opportunities, while increasing local revenues and employment.

$250,000 was approved for the North Peace Cultural Society for the renovation of the North Peace Cultural Centre (NPCC). This upgrade includes the replacement of all 413 seats, new carpet, new stage drapery and the replacement of the lighting systems. Thousands of people use the NPCC with 150 bookings of the theatre annually. Conferences and theatre performances have generated economic activity directly to the downtown core of Fort St. John. Supporting this amenity will ensure that Fort St. John/ North Peace Region remain competitive among communities outside the lower mainland.

The next intake deadline for the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program is May 10, 2019.


Margo Wagner, chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust

“The board is thrilled to be able to support projects such as these that span so many areas of economic diversification. From health and wellness, to the arts, to tourism and the environment, we are delighted to say yes to so many deserving communities in the north.”

Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust

“These projects invest in key community assets that diversify and support resiliency in the economy. The Trust is very pleased to see our dollars at work to support these four significant projects in our region.”

Ken Burt, President of Coast Mountain College

“This funding means the Coast Mountain College community will benefit from an updated health and wellness centre where staff, students, faculty and others can focus on personal fitness and participate in new programming. We are grateful for the support from Northern Developments for these funds, which will enable the promotion of health and wellness, which helps people succeed in their studies and other aspects of their lives.”

Shane Brienen, Mayor of Houston

“The new refrigeration plant will not only create a safer working environment for staff and present less of an ammonia risk to users, the increased efficiency will reduce the environmental impact the facility has. This major improvement to the facility will result in decreased operational costs and advancement toward more efficient technology.”

Clayton Harry, General Manager Stswecem’c Xgat’tem Development Corporation Ltd.

“This will be a huge win for the community for the upcoming years.  The Dog Creek Community Store has grown in business very rapidly in the last few years, and, if we would like to continue with this growth, we must upgrade the infrastructure we have in place. With this funding, we can begin building for the future.”

Baptiste Marcere, Executive Director North Peace Cultural Society

“The NPCC theatre is the performance hub of the North Peace attracting thousands of people to hundreds of performances each year. These will mean better performances in the theatre for both local and touring productions. Safety is of prime consideration and now, broken seats and carpet fringe will no longer be an issue. “

About the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program:

The Economic Diversification Infrastructure program provides grant funding to support major infrastructure projects in order to strengthen the local economy. The program supports public multi-use facilities or capital investments that drive revenue and job creation and provide a long-term asset for communities throughout central and northern British Columbia.


Northern Development has a passion for growing the economy of central and northern British Columbia. Communities, First Nations and businesses of the north are leaders in creating jobs, new revenues and improving the quality of life in the region, and the Trust is dedicated to supporting their growth. The Trust combines funding with smart thinking and since 2005 has found more than 3,100 ways to say “yes” to projects that help the region thrive.


Holly Plato
Director of communications and marketing
Northern Development Initiative Trust
250-561-2525 | 250-613-8695