April 2021 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance


of funds committed to projects in 2021


project applications approved in 2021


of Trust funds invested in projects since 2005


projects approved since 2005

In May 2020, five destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in Northwest B.C. joined together to develop a shared regional marketing strategy to help their tourism stakeholders weather the first summer with COVID-19 restrictions in place. Tourism Prince Rupert, Tourism Smithers, Kermodei Tourism (Terrace), Tourism Kitimat and Nisga’a Tourism created a Northwest B.C. shared marketing campaign to complement their regular marketing activities.

The main video produced for the Visit Northwest BC regional marketing campaign in 2020.

In June, Northern Development approved their $11,562 Marketing Initiatives grant application to help the participating DMOs market their destinations to neighbouring communities in alignment with provincial health orders regarding travelling. The project included the creation of a documentary-style video highlighting the main tourism and outdoor adventure offerings available in each participating destination, design of a special deals landing page on the website and sponsored advertising in local media and social media.

“2020 was an extraordinarily challenging year for the tourism industry and we’re grateful that we could band together with other DMOs in our corner of Northwestern B.C. to collectively strengthen our marketing reach,” said Ceilidh Marlow, executive director, Tourism Prince Rupert. “Receiving 50 per cent of the costs of this marketing project significantly eased the financial burden and made it possible for organizations to participate in additional marketing when it was needed most. Beyond that, the videos that were created will be valuable marketing pieces in the future.”

A screenshot of a Visit Northwest BC Facebook ad featuring a new video.

On August 25, the video and four vignettes were completed and were shared on social media and visitnorthwestbc.ca. The paid marketing campaign launched September 1, 2020 and continued for eight weeks. Content was published and promoted on social media and news media sites. Advertisements linked directly to the consortium’s website, visitnorthwestbc.ca, where a custom landing page promoted special deals in each community, ranging from accommodation to adventure. Each community listed three to six special deals with an exclusive promotional code to be used at redemption.

The successful marketing campaign resulted in 5,951 clicks to the special deals page on visitnorthwestbc.ca. In total, 502,468 impressions were made on social media platforms during the eight-week campaign.

A screenshot of the custom landing page on visitnorthwestbc.ca featuring special offers.

Three of the five participating organizations collect the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), a tax of up to three per cent that can be applied to the purchase of accommodation in specific geographic areas. The revenue generated from the tax is used for local tourism marketing, programs and projects. With the sharp decline of people booking accommodations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, revenue for the destination marketing organizations (DMO) was subsequently significantly reduced.

Northern Development’s Marketing Initiatives funding program provides a maximum of $20,000, to a maximum of 50 per cent of the eligible project budget, to local governments, First Nation governments and non-profit organizations. Projects must promote or position a community or region to take advantage of opportunities that support economic vitality and diversification.

In Fort St. John, Resolve Energy Solutions knew organizational change had to be implemented to sustain their well servicing business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oil and gas producers, their main clients, had slashed their budgets on all fronts and Resolve was reeling from the sudden loss of work. They were forced to downsize, losing approximately 30 per cent of their workforce and were experiencing financial losses each month. The company was already utilizing a wage relief subsidy to keep their remaining staff employed, but more needed to be done to preserve the business.

In May 2020, Resolve successfully applied for a $25,000 Small Business Recovery Consulting Rebate through Northern Development. Nine days after their application for a business planning and management project was received it was approved. Working closely with a professional consultant, Resolve’s management team now has a development plan that uses strategy, alignment and implementation techniques to create a high functioning team capable of delivering a high performing work environment.

“Our consultant had a wealth of knowledge that he delivered in a clear, concise fashion that was tailored to each person’s learning style,” said Joffree Jorgenson, owner, Resolve Energy Solutions. “Working with our team, he was able to identify each team member’s personality and how they fit into the success or struggles that the company was experiencing. The consultant gave us a change management and execution plan, detailing clear roles and responsibilities for our management team. Now, meetings have more structure and consistently positive outcomes. We feel confident that we will be able to grow as a stronger, more efficient company.”

In addition to the development plan, the consultant also helped Resolve better understand their existing costs and identify opportunities to minimize cost and increase benefit with a focus on people’s unique talents and interests.

“By assigning people to roles they naturally fit, the positions benefit from each individual’s superpowers and interests,” explained Jorgenson. “This results in a more satisfying and high functioning workplace while reducing stress and job discontentment. Ultimately, this leads to improved employee retention and increased morale. Identifying our employees’ unique skillset also positively positions us to better serve our customers.”

Funding for Resolve’s consulting project came from Northern Development’s Small Business Recovery Consulting Rebate program. The program offers a rebate of up to $25,000, or 85 per cent of an eligible project’s budget, to businesses in a variety of industries. The funding program is temporarily closed at this time and will open June 1, 2021.

Over the past year the Trust, along with many other organizations, has adapted to working remotely and serving our region the best we can while still observing social distancing measures. One of the most rewarding experiences of working at Northern Development is the ability to travel and visit various communities and the projects we helped support. Prior to 2020, we would send Northern B.C. photographers to festivals, grand-openings, ground-breaking ceremonies, celebrations and cultural events to capture those moments and allow us to share them with you. 

Collectively we are still unable to attend and host the kind of events that make our region so special, however we wanted to somehow continue those community visits and capture those images.

Chainsaw carver John Rogers takes a break from carving to stand with the in-progress eagle.

Inspired by the Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Competition and our Love Northern BC creatures, Northern Development partnered with local chainsaw artist John Rogers to create animals that represent the four regions we serve.

Prince George – bear, Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet – eagle, Northeast – bison, Northwest – salmon.

Bison and eagle before varnish.

John Rogers is a Prince George resident who has been carving for 30 years. He began his artistry by making ships in bottles, progressed to carving soapstone and then to wood. His creations are primarily carved with chainsaws and he works to give each creature a facial expression. John has participated numerous times in the Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Competition and has numerous carvings displayed in Chetwynd.

Once completed, these wooden creations will travel throughout Northern Development’s service area with local photographers to visit the many projects we helped to fund. While we are still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, these carvings will act as our ambassadors until such time we can all gather once again.

In addition to sending our ambassadors throughout the north, we are also inviting our social media followers to provide names for each one.

Beginning May 3, one animal will be featured each week and the person who chooses the winning name will receive a $100 Support Local BC gift card. For complete rules and regulations, please visit northerndevelopment.bc.ca/wood-you-name-us/.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to meeting with you all again soon.

The bison before varnish.

In April 2021, Love Northern BC hosted their first ever Easter Contest, the Love Northern BC Egg-Stravaganza. During the contest period, the Easter Bunny had truly taken over the entire website (www.lovenorthernbc.com), replacing the classic hearts with pastel eggs! Participants were encouraged to hunt for their favourite local, independent businesses by adding them to a digital ‘basket’ when they clicked on the Easter Eggs. Followers of the @lovenorthernbc Facebook and Instagram pages were encouraged to visit the website to participate.

One of the promotional graphics used to build awareness about the contest.

From March 29th to April 9th, participants were encouraged to use the “Favourites” feature on the website, essentially a Pinterest board for local, independent businesses. The winner, a woman based in Fort St. John, was randomly selected from a list of more than 40 participants from across the region. She won a $100 Support Local BC gift certificate to use at a local, independent business of her choosing to keep the ‘shop local’ spirit flowing in the region.

Easter eggs represent Love Northern BC communities.

On April 26, Northern Development welcomed Ben Campbell to the team as Chief Financial Officer.

Ben Campbell

A lifelong Prince George resident, Ben has focused his career on finance and worked for nine years at KPMG after attending both the University of Northern BC and the College of New Caledonia.

While at KPMG, Ben worked his way up to Audit Senior Manager with a focus on not-for-profit, local government, First Nations government and school districts. He has significant experience in analyzing and preparing financial statements and the knowledge to address and provide advice on complicated accounting treatments.

Ben is married with two children; he is a member of the Rotary Club and enjoys snowmobiling and working on his classic truck.

Northern Development’s 2020 Annual Report is available to read and download on the website. Peruse the report to learn how Northern Development adapted to support the rapidly changing needs of communities and businesses throughout Northern B.C. as the COVID-19 pandemic altered our ways of living, working and recreating.

The cover of the 2020 Annual Report.

The report also includes 30 stories celebrating some of the successful project applications that were approved in 2020 and how they will benefit local communities. Success stories include a new business plan for Dease River Sawmill, operated by the economic development arm of the Dease River First Nation, and the first phase of a waterfront development project in Quesnel, Northern Development’s single largest investment through the Strategic Initiatives Fund, and much more.

Readers can also learn about the Trust’s capacity building programs, growing third-party fund administration, governance and best practices.

Read the full report here: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/about/annual-report/.