Northern Development’s Pine Beetle Recovery Account should continue to operate sustainably, and be used to fund strategic and highly impactful projects that help communities recover from the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. That’s what the Trust heard from community leaders across central and northern B.C. during a meeting in Prince George this month focused on finding ways to optimize the use of the $23 million account.
Representatives from each of the Trust’s four regional advisory committees (Cariboo Chilcotin Lillooet, Northeast, Prince George and Northwest), the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition, Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition and Omineca Beetle Action Coalition attended the meeting facilitated by Northern Development CEO Janine North. In 2005, the Pine Beetle Recovery Account was infused with $30 million to support pine beetle recovery projects to help communities respond to the infestation, which has killed an estimated 723 million cubic metres of timber since the infestation began in the 1990s.
The Pine Beetle Recovery Account is one of seven accounts the Trust manages including the four regional development accounts, Cross Regional Account and Operating Endowment. Since 2005, nearly $19 million has been disbursed from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account to support 215 economic diversification projects in areas where the infestation has been present. Recently, the account’s annual allowable grant limit (7% of the $23 million account balance in 2014) has primarily been used to fund the Trust’s Economic Development Capacity Building program, which provides $50,000 per year to each municipality and regional district affected by Mountain Pine Beetle within the Trust’s service area to support economic development initiatives.
In 2014, approximately $1.4 million was approved from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account to support critical economic development capacity building funding in pine beetle affected areas. At the April 1 meeting, regional advisors and beetle action coalition representatives recommended to the Trust’s board that it adopt a policy to grant out between 8% and 10% of the account’s capital base per year to support economic diversification projects in pine beetle affected areas.
The group also recommended that the Trust’s board consider making additional funds from the account available to support highly strategic or impactful pine beetle recovery projects as they’re proposed. The advisors recommended that such projects could include commercialization and community forest support, support for trades and technical education and small business and entrepreneurial training and mentorship, among other recommendations. The recommendations were forwarded to the Trust’s board for review at its April board meeting, and staff are now working on policy updates for the account that will be forwarded to the board for approval at its July meeting.
“On behalf of the board, we owe thanks to our regional advisors and Beetle Action Coalitions for taking the time to brainstorm ways to optimize the Pine Beetle Recovery Account,” said Northern Development Chair Evan Saugstad. “2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Trust and a good opportunity to ensure we’re responding to the region’s needs – the recommendations we’ve heard so far will go a long ways to ensure this account continues to provide value to our communities and strengthen the region’s economy.”
• Northern Development operates seven separate funding accounts that have a combined capital base of approximately $240 million
• The Trust grants out between $10 and $11 million of its capital base per year, ensuring it strengthens the economy of the region while also remaining sustainable for the long term
• The $23 million Pine Beetle Recovery Account is used to support projects that help communities recover and respond to the mountain pine beetle infestation
• Since 2005, nearly $19 million has been disbursed from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account to support 215 economic diversification projects in beetle affected regions
• In 2014, approximately $1.4 million was approved from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account to support economic development capacity building funding in beetle affected regions
• To learn more about how Northern Development has used the Pine Beetle Recovery Account please visit: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/?s=pine+beetle
• For more information about B.C.’s Mountain Pine Beetle please visit: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/mountain_pine_beetle/
Residents on Haida Gwaii and in Granisle will soon enjoy more reliable Internet service.
In April, Northern Development’s board of directors approved $198,683 in funding to support telecommunications upgrades in both areas, which will allow for service improvement, savings and growth on Haida Gwaii and improve speeds for Granisle Internet users. The funding approvals break down as follows:
• $161,000 approved for GwaiiTel society to support the purchase of a second radio set in Old Masset and a system wide caching server for Haida Gwaii
• $137,683 approved for the Village of Granisle to support a new fibre optic connection for residents
Both projects were approved through the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides up to $250,000 in funding for capital projects that significantly strengthen the local economy. Since 2006, GwaiiTel, a non-profit society, has combined the purchasing power of seven communities to lower the costs of bringing broadband Internet to Haida Gwaii.
Internet service to all of Haida Gwaii is currently totally dependent on a single set of radios located on top of Prince Rupert’s Mount Hays. The second set of radios would double the available bandwidth and provide a fail-safe to ensure more reliable and consistent coverage for users on the islands. The fibre optic connection in Granisle, meantime, would provide a reliable 5Mb/second connection for more than 200 homes and businesses in the area.
“High speed Internet access is imperative in today’s digital world. These upgrades will link residents to online services, supporting economic opportunities, trade and business and job creation in Granisle and Haida Gwaii,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development.
“The Internet has become essential infrastructure for economic development. It is part of our business, social, medical and recreational life. Northern Development has enabled GwaiiTel’s network to continue to grow and to enhance its resiliency and reliability,” said Carol Kulesha, Chair, GwaiiTel.
“Granisle is extremely excited by the news our efforts have been rewarded in moving our community forward in an ever changing technical world. It is imperative, especially, in small, rural communities to ensure we are connected with our continuous efforts to promote economic development, tourism and job creation,” said Village of Granisle Mayor Linda McGuire.
• Since 2005, Northern Development has approved more than $125 million for more than 1,500 economic development projects throughout central and northern B.C.
• That funding has been used to leverage $1.2 billion in new investment in the region
• The $161,000 approved for Haida Gwaii will support the purchase of a second radio set in Old Masset and a system wide caching server
• The $137,683 approved for Granisle will be used to support a new fibre optic connection for residents
Local governments, non-profits and First Nations that want funding for community projects this summer must submit their applications to Northern Development by May 15. The Trust has approximately $3.7 million remaining available to support community projects via its four regional development accounts this year:
• $1,467,791 remains available for potential projects in the Trust’s Prince George region
• $1,529,389 is available to support projects in the Northeast region
• $623,669 remains available in the Cariboo Chilcotin Lillooet region, including Cache Creek’s allocation
• $157,173 remains available in the Northwest region, including the allocations for Port Edward and the Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District
The Trust’s goal is to maximize its annual funding outflow each year. In 2014, Northern Development approved $10.4 million in grants for 315 economic development projects throughout central and northern B.C; representing a 69% increase in funding approvals and 42% increase in the number of projects when compared with 2013. Local governments, non-profits and First Nations must submit their funding by May 15th at 4:30 p.m. in order for the applications to be reviewed and potentially approved at their next round of meetings. Applications can be submitted for the following programs:
• Economic Diversification Infrastructure (up to $250,000 in funding available per project)
• Community Halls and Recreation Facilities (up to $30,000 in funding available per project)
• Capital Investment Analysis (up to $10,000 in funding available per project)•
• Marketing Initiatives (up to $20,000 in funding available per project)
• Community Foundations Matching Grants (up to $50,000 in funding available per project)
Not sure if your project qualifies?
Interested applicants can download program guides, application forms and self-assessment tools from each program page on the Trust’s website. The self-assessment tools help applicants determine whether they qualify for funding, while the guide and application forms help them write and submit projects for approval. More than 90% of the applications the Trust receives are approved for funding. Have questions? Call us! Northern Development staff are happy to discuss your project. You can reach us at 250-561-2525 or email@example.com
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The Community Foundation Matching Grants program provides all municipalities or regional district electoral areas with up to $50,000 from a regional development account in matched funding to assist with establishment of a dedicated endowment within a registered community foundation over a two year period.
In 2014, Northern Development approved $234,575 in grants to help establish six community foundations throughout the region. The goal of the program is to assist all municipalities and regional district electoral areas in the Northern Development region in building an endowment fund that supports local social, cultural and environmental needs via local decision making.
In 2014, the Trust approved three $50,000 matching grants to help establish the South Cariboo Community Enhancement Foundation. The foundation was set up to serve the District of 100 Mile House and Cariboo Regional District Electoral
Areas G (Lac La Hache/108 Mile), H (Canim Lake/Forest Grove) and L (Lone Butte/Interlakes). The foundation was set up to create a locally-managed endowment fund that would provide grant support to local community groups, in this case eligible non-profits in the South Cariboo. Northern Development also provided funding for community foundations in Fraser Lake, Fort St. James and 70 Mile in 2014.
Since inception, the Trust has approved $1.48 million in matching grants for 35 community foundation endowments throughout central and northern B.C. Check out the video above to learn more about the program!
Northern Development has approved a $30,000 grant to upgrade the boat launch and shower house at Cedar Point Provincial Park in the community of Likely. The grant was approved through the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities funding program, and is part of the economic development recovery efforts underway to support the community following the tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley Mine. The boat launch upgrade will make it easier for visitors and campers to launch from Cedar Point, and the new shower house will serve as a comfort-amenity for visitors to the area.
A $2,400 grant will help market the community of Likely to tourists along Highway 97. Northern Development recently approved the grant through its Marketing Initiatives program. The funding will be used to purchase a reflective billboard sign that will be placed along Highway 97 between Quesnel and Prince George, advertising the community of Likely to visitors and residents travelling through the area. The funding is part of the economic development recovery efforts underway to support the community following the tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley Mine.
Northern Development has approved $30,000 for the development of the Binche Keyoh recreation centre near Fort St. James. The grant was provided through the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, and will be used to help build a 1,800-square-foot recreation space that includes a public gathering space, workout room, bathrooms, kitchen and storage area. The recreation centre will allow the Binche Keyoh to hold cultural events and will also provide an additional revenue stream for the community through facility rentals.
A $7,500 grant from Northern Development will be used to help promote the Haida Gwaii Museum. The museum plays a central role revitalizing Haida culture by supporting local artists, amalgamating the largest collection of Haida art and artifacts and partnering with museums from around the world. The funding was provided through the Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program, and will be used to develop a website that will stimulate renewed tourist traffic by providing more in-depth information about Haida culture and the museum’s collections. The website is also designed to increase admissions and allow visitors to continue learning about Haida culture and history even after they’ve left the physical space of the museum.
Northern Development has approved $30,000 to help support and expand the Quesnel SkyFest Airshow – a two-day event held bi-annually and one of the region’s premier aeronautics attractions. The funding was approved through the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, and will be used to purchase fencing, a storage container, festival tents, a generator and medical treatment centre. These new assets will facilitate a safer environment for event attendees and create a more attractive venue for sponsors – increasing attendance and revenue for SkyFest.
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