April 2024 - Newsletter

In this issue

The Fort St. John Seed Cleaning Cooperative Association is committed to significantly enhancing productivity and sustainability in farming practices within the Peace region. In 2022, the association successfully applied for a $300,000 Economic Infrastructure grant for the acquisition and installation of cutting-edge seed cleaning equipment, which will streamline the seed cleaning process for the betterment of local farmers.

The association integrated a Cimbria SEA Optical Sorter Chromex Colour Sorter, a Cimbria Heid Gravity Separator, and a Cimbria Delta Model 107 Super Cleaner within the seed plant located on the East Bypass near Fort St. John, an area central to the agricultural activities of the region.

The introduction of this machinery will enable the plant to efficiently eliminate unwanted seeds and foreign objects from a wide variety of grains, cereal crops, seeds, and pulses. This level of precision and efficiency in cleaning is unattainable without such sophisticated technology, often necessitating excessive chemical use in the field otherwise. Moreover, the enhancement will significantly boost the plant’s capacity and throughput, allowing it to serve more farmers in the surrounding areas by cleaning more seed than ever before.

“This project benefits the entire community and will for decades to come. Success means improved seed cleaning for all agricultural producers who use the service now and into the future,” said Wade Sutherland, vice chair, Fort St. John Cleaning Cooperative Association.

Currently, the cooperative association has around 400 member farmers from the Peace region, in addition to servicing non-member users. The demand for improved seed cleaning services has been a long-standing request from those who rely on the plant. Through the completion of this project, the association is set to fulfill this need, marking a significant milestone in its commitment to supporting local agriculture.

The Economic Infrastructure program supports projects of regional and local significance that contribute to economic growth and stronger communities. These projects include renovations or new construction of public multi-use facilities or capital investments that drive revenue and job creation within the community.

North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods Inc. (NorPak) is applying freeze drying technologies to their food processing to add value to their seafood and agri-food products by creating new products with an almost unlimited shelf life, thanks in part to a $20,435 Northern Industries Innovation Fund grant.

By adding freeze drying technologies to its operations, the company will create value-added foods by expanding their current product offerings from single product packages, to ready-to-eat full vegan meals using local food products.

The company has also integrated NutraSoft software to improve product management of their manufactured freeze-dried foods. NutraSoft is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for small food and beverage manufacturing businesses who are looking to grow their operations, increase margins, analyze and improve their production process, create their own nutrition facts tables, reduce product waste and improve food safety.

The project will provide an opportunity for the company to diversify their product line and enter new plant-based vegan food markets in both Canada and internationally.

Adoption of the technologies is expected to significantly improve productivity and in-house resources and will provide an opportunity to shift NorPak to a full-time working environment, creating new employment and increasing revenue for the business, while stimulating the local economy.

“The Value-Added Seafood Products Freeze Dry Technology project funded by NIIF was very helpful to our firm,” said Dafne Romero, CEO of NorPak. “It helped diversify our seafood products to increase visibility in the market and become more economically resilient as well as the possibilities to find new markets.”

NorPak is located on Haida Gwaii where they “respect, watch, and harvest from the Kelp Forest in the Hecate Strait.”

The Northern Industries Innovation Fund (NIIF) program provides incremental funding to support innovation projects that increase the competitiveness of local businesses in traditional industries across Northern B.C. The program is also intended to support economic diversification and/or viability of businesses to mitigate the economic impact of the pine beetle epidemic. NIIF supports applied research and development, new or improved products and services, and testing of innovative equipment or technologies to support capital investment decisions.

The Prince George Tennis and Pickleball Club offers six tennis and six pickleball courts available for both members and drop-in players.

In 2022, the Prince George Tennis club noticed the six tennis courts were displaying significant signs of deterioration including cracking, bubbling and small holes on the playing surfaces.

To ensure the courts remained viable, the Prince George Tennis Club applied for a $40,721 Recreation Infrastructure grant in order to resurface the six tennis courts.

The courts had not been resurfaced for approximately six to eight years and the flaws impacted the safety of users and the overall playing quality for members and competitors.

The newly resurfaced courts provide a safer, more enjoyable experience for all players and with regular maintenance and cleaning, will last several years into the future.

The Recreation Infrastructure program supports community efforts to create and support recreational infrastructure, such as arenas, gymnasiums, golf courses, fields, boat launches and others, to encourage resident attraction and retention while also increasing opportunities for sport tourism. This program is set up to support new construction projects or upgrades and repairs to existing facilities.

Northern Development is pleased to cohost an information session for the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program with the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Innovation, Bioeconomy and Indigenous Opportunities Branch.

The virtual session takes place on April 23 at 9:00 a.m.

The Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy program is a grant program that funds forest bioeconomy businesses/projects and any First Nation entity or Individual in BC, or any BC government staff who work with First Nations in BC are encouraged to attend.

More about the IFBP: – The program funds First Nations’ economic enterprises related to wood products or to non-timber forest products. – The program supports innovative uses for wood and forest materials by funding and de-risking fledgling enterprises. – The program supports the production of items that can be made from residual fibre. – The program welcomes new ideas and possibilities in the economy as it pertains to the sale of novel wood products.

To learn more about the program register to attend the upcoming information session.