Over $1.5 Million Invested In New Community Projects and Manufacturing Expansions

March 25, 2009

Prince George, BC – Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Board of Directors met on March 18th and are pleased to announce that a total of 44 new projects were approved for funding totalling $1,558,560 on a total project value of over $11.5 Million into the economy. Of the 44 projects approved, 34 new community projects will receive contributions of $1.3 Million on $8.5 Million of immediate spending in the central and northern BC economy.

Four of the new community projects approved by Northern Development are led by First Nations. The Board approved a $50,000 Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant application from Lisims Backcountry Adventures, Inc. toward the $1.5 million ‘Nisga’a Commercial Recreation Tenure Development’ project. This funding will support eco-tourism infrastructure development that will network backcountry trails with lodging and outdoor recreation services in the Nass Valley to create new employment, direct revenues, and support entrepreneurial tourism operations in the region.

The Gitxsan Treaty Society’s application for an $8,000 grant to undertake a $30,000 business case analysis for a specialty product sawmill operation with power co-generation was approved. Grant funding of $20,000 was also approved for the West Moberly First Nation toward the $100,000 ‘Pine Pass Mountain Resort’ feasibility study, investigating the viability of a year round tourist destination resort in the Pine Pass at Honeymoon Creek. Both projects will be funded via the program. The Tahltan Central Council also received $30,000 in funding commitments to complete the Dease Lake Recreation Centre.

Northern Development is contributing $542,024 to a $4.7 Million expansion of the highly successful ‘Northern Opportunities’ program, an innovative partnership between three school districts, Northern Lights College, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Fort Nelson First Nation, the North East Native Advancing Society, Spectra Energy and Canfor. This program enables youth in northeast BC to receive trades and technical training while still in high school, resulting in a supply of trained local workers to support the demand for skilled trades, health care workers, childcare professionals and other technical jobs in the region.

Journeyman Welder Tyrell Orcutt, (left), the first former Northern
Opportunities Apprenticeship and Dual Credit student to sponsor an
apprentice, shakes the hand of his new apprentice welder, Cleve Rodtka.

A $14,000 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account (an initiative funded by the Province of British Columbia) will enable the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to develop a $50,000 Mining Industry Web Portal. The project is a cooperative initiative of several municipalities, First Nations communities and local mining interests to market mining engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) opportunities in detail with the purpose of attracting, retaining, and expanding service and manufacturing companies to the region.

Initiatives Prince George will use a grant of $10,000 to support marketing material development for the proposed global logistics park at Prince George Airport as well as researching regulatory issues and trade agreements that impact the community’s ability to attract investment in manufacturing and warehousing.

Projects approved under the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program included $30,000 toward the $580,000 Dease Lake Recreation Center improvements, $30,000 toward the $560,000 Sandspit Recreation Community Hall, $14,528 toward the $52,671 Fort Fraser Outdoor Skating Rink Development and $5,000 toward the $15,000 Chetwynd Legion renovations.

The Board also approved matching grant funds under the Community Foundations program totalling $175,000. Four new community foundations were created with three of the four supported through the Prince George Regional Development Account by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. Those are the Salmon River – Lakes Community Fund (Electoral Area A), Willow River – Upper Fraser Community Fund (Electoral Area F), and the Woodpecker – Hixon Community Fund (Electoral Area E). The fourth community foundation approved at the March board meeting was the City of Fort St. John Community Foundation which is held under the Northeast Regional Community Foundation. The Northeast Regional Community Foundation was created as the umbrella organization to support the establishment of community foundations in the Northeast region.  To-date, the City of Dawson Creek, the  District of Taylor and the City of Fort St. John have each created a community foundation for the benefit of their communities.

Additionally, during the first 2 months of 2009, 3 new business expansions were approved under the Capital Investment and Training Rebate. The businesses will invest over $3 Million in new capital and training, and create 21 new jobs in central and northern BC with the support of Northern Development.

The Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program, a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, has approved twenty nine applications including seven new approvals announced at the recent Board meeting. Northern Development’s contribution to the program currently totals $219,080 for fifty percent funding, enabling businesses in central and northern BC to access BDC consulting services at half the cost – a significant advantage that lowers the barrier to accessing management support for small and medium size manufacturers and suppliers in the region.

Northern Development is pleased to welcome Holly Hill in the role of Funding Researcher for the next two months. Holly will be working closely with Economic Development Managers, Brodie Guy and Dean McKinley to ensure that communities, non-profits and First Nations in central and northern BC have current and easily accessible information to apply for funding related to infrastructure projects and other priorities of government along with other funding agencies. The Resources section of the Northern Development website should be reviewed regularly for frequent updates.

At Northern Development’s Annual General Meeting held on March 18th, 2009, Director Bruce Sutherland was re-elected as Chair, Director Evan Saugstad, Mayor of Chetwynd was elected as Vice Chair and Director Mike Tarr, CEO of Northern Savings Credit Union was elected as Chair of the Finance Committee. Northern Development is managed by a board of thirteen directors of which eight are elected officials nominated by regional local governments and five are business leaders appointed by the Province of British Columbia.

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. Over $46.6 million in funding has been committed to 317 projects with a total project value of over $306 million. For a complete list of approved projects, visit Northern Development’s website.

For further information on funding programs and economic development in central and northern British Columbia, visit: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/