December 2, 2008
Prince George, BC – today announced an update on project investments in central and northern BC and has shared community and business feedback received on a number of successful rural and regional economic development initiatives the organization has directly supported.
Established in 2004, Northern Development operates independently from government and is governed by a board of thirteen community and business leaders. This close collaboration of central and northern leadership enables the organization to work proactively and responsively on regional development initiatives with communities and business throughout a region that covers over seventy percent of the Province of British Columbia extending from Lytton to Fort Nelson and from Valemount to the Queen Charlotte Islands.
“Northern Development is focused on working with every community in central and northern BC to reach their economic potential, “ stated Bruce Sutherland, Chair of Northern Development. “We have shown measurable results for investment in 255 projects as well as strong consensus of over 96% between our regionally-based community advisors recommendations and our board decisions.”
As of the organization’s most recent board of directors meeting held in November, the organization has committed to investing over $42 million in regional development and rural revitalization initiatives. A key characteristic of these investments is collaboration amongst communities, private business, and First Nations.
Northern Development has been particularly successful in providing direct investment in rural British Columbia with over 80% of investments to date made in small communities and rural regions with populations less than 5,000 residents. “Whenever the Village of Granisle has needed support in our economic development and diversification efforts, Northern Development Initiative Trust has been there for us,” said Gilles Archambault, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Granisle.
Mayor Jay Vermette, District of Wells stated, “Wells is empowered by the local decision making structure and the resources that the Northern Development Initiative Trust has in place.”
Twenty four projects have been directly led or financially supported by First Nations throughout the region for projects ranging from innovative cultural tourism, training delivery and business partnerships. Northern Development has invested over $6.2 million into these initiatives, having a total project value of over $40.5 million. This equates to over 14.8% of Northern Development’s total investments in projects that involve and benefit First Nations.
Miles Richardson, Chair of the Haida Heritage Centre stated, “Support from Northern Development in development of the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay has enhanced the Centre as a global tourist attraction for Haida Gwaii. Moreover, Northern Development’s investment has directly facilitated funding for the establishment of our $10 million operating endowment and $1.5 million in additional stakeholder funding.”
Northern Development is also contributing benefits through funding economic diversification projects, by connecting businesses directly with First Nation leaders for investment opportunities, and by approaching First Nation focused trust funds to propose partnership opportunities for delivery of additional innovative economic development programs.
In September 2008, Northern Development launched a pioneering business incentive program, the Capital Investment and Training Rebate, to directly support business expansion and investment attraction focused on diversifying the regional economy. The incentive is the only one of its kind available in Canada, offering up to $10,000 for every new job created by new or existing value-added manufacturing businesses in central and northern British Columbia. Since launch, a number of businesses have taken advantage of the program with over 300 new jobs projected as a result. Many additional manufacturers are contacting Northern Development to incorporate the program into upcoming expansion plans.
“Northern Development has delivered exactly what it promised our business – non-bureaucratic, responsive and business-friendly programs and investment decisions that have greatly helped our manufacturing businesses diversify and expand,” stated Keith Spencer, Director of Operations for the BID Group of Companies, located in Prince George and Vanderhoof.
Northern Development Initiative Trust was formed with initial capital deposits from the Province of British Columbia totalling $185 million to support regional economic development funding and has a current balance of $165 million with over $28 million financially expended on projects in the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet, Northeast, Northwest, and Prince George regions. These strategic investments have facilitated total investment in the region in excess of $252 million over the past three years.
“Terrace has been hard hit by the long running economic downturn in our forest industry and the delay in the Galore Creek mine development. Northern Development works closely with the region, Terrace, and First Nations to move important initiatives forward for our economy,” said Mayor Dave Pernarowski, City of Terrace.
The organization provides the funding and framework for a regionally-based board of thirteen volunteer directors to work with community and business leaders to identify and pursue new opportunities for stimulating economic growth and job creation in their regions. Northern Development has four regional advisory committees that each nominate two of their local government members to the Board. The four regional advisory committees consist of elected officials of municipalities, regional districts and local members of the legislative assembly. The Province of British Columbia appoints five other non-elected directors to the Board from central and northern BC business and First Nations.
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For information on funding programs and economic development in central and northern British Columbia, visit:
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust