February 2015 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance





Watch our 2015 Games wrap-up video to see how Northern Development’s decade of investment helped deliver a first-class Games and build a stronger north.

The 2015 Canada Winter Games are over but the legacy they leave behind will generate dividends for the economy for years to come. For the last decade, Northern Development has partnered with communities and non-profits to invest in facility upgrades throughout central and northern B.C. that help make major events like the 2015 Canada Winter Games a reality. 2015 is Northern Development’s 10th anniversary.

As the north’s only sustainable public trust dedicated to strengthening the economy, our board and regional advisors have approved more than $2.5 million in grant funding that directly supported the Games’ facilities. That funding, and millions more in previous investments by the Trust, upgraded 11 venues used during the Games, including a technical building at Otway Nordic Centre, the development of the Northern Sport Centre and a runway expansion at Prince George Airport, to name a few. Those upgrades helped ensure 2,400 athletes from across the nation and thousands of officials and spectators had a first class experience in northern B.C. – and they will leave a lasting legacy for the region to prove that a grassroots, community-led approach to economic development helped Northern Development deliver on its mandate: to build a stronger north.

Check out our 2015 Games wrap-up video above to see how Northern Development’s decade of investment helped deliver a first-class Games and build a stronger north. This video is the first in a series of six videos the Trust will produce in 2015 that show how Northern Development’s community-based approach to economic development has had a meaningful impact on communities, businesses and residents throughout central and northern B.C. Below you’ll find a list of all the investments the Trust has made that have supported the Games.

Projects that the Trust has supported to help prepare Prince George for the 2015 Canada Winter Games:

Northern Sport Centre
Construction of facility – Grant: $1,200,000 Loan: $3,000,000

Otway Nordic Ski Facility
Construction of Technical Building – Grant: $30,000

Tabor Mountain Ski Facility
Construction of Multi-Use Clubhouse – Grant: $30,000

CN Centre Arena
CN Ice Plant Condenser – Grant: $30,000
CN Overhead Display System – Loan: $520,000
Prince George Skate Oval Pavilion – Grant: $30,000

The Prince George Curling Club
Commercial Real Estate Development – Loan: $150,000
Renovations to the Prince George Golf and Curling Club – Grant: $30,000
Prince George Tennis Court Relocation – Grant: $30,000

Coliseum Arena
Coliseum Arena Light Replacement – Grant: $30,000

Canada Winter Games Plaza
Civic Plaza Enhancement – Grant: $30,000
Lheidli T’enneh Aboriginal Pavilion – Grant: $30,000 – Construction of Pavilion

Civic Centre
Furniture Replacement for Civic Centre – Grant: $30,000

Prince George YXS Airport
Prince George Airport Expansion – Loan: $11,000,000

Aquatic Centre
Equipment Replacement – Grant: $30,000

Downtown Revitalization
PG Business Façade Program and Placemaking Enhancement Initiative – Grant: $304,788
Love Downtown PG – Grant: $25,000


Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust


Northern Development has approved $250,000 in funding for Geoscience B.C. to begin work on the first phase of the “Peace Project”. The endeavor is aimed at gaining a better understanding of regional aquifers in northeast B.C., especially where limited water wells exist north of the Peace River.

In March 2014, the Province announced the new Water Sustainability Act, which enforces the regulation of groundwater usage B.C. In addition to the new Water Sustainability Act, the government is working with Treaty 8 First Nations on the Northeast Water Strategy to address ground water usage concerns.

To help protect northern B.C.’s water and support these initiatives, Geoscience B.C. is planning Phase One of the project, which consists of mapping and assessing shallow groundwater aquifers in northeast B.C.’s Peace region, centered along the Montney gas play using existing shallow water well and seismic data and a new airborne electromagnetic data set. The electromagnetic survey will specifically target shallow aquifers (up to 350m depth), which are the most likely contenders to provide non-potable water resources needed for natural gas development.

The project proposes to deliver geophysical maps, aquifer information including delineated areas of newly identified aquifers, updates to previously mapped aquifer extents, aquifer characterization information, interpreted quaternary depth maps, reports for new groundwater monitoring wells and a GIS-based decision support tool to allow open access to data gathered from the project to the public.

Phase two of the proposed project, which is located north of the Peace River is planned to be implemented the following year. Phase One of the “Peace Project” was approved under the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides up to $250,000 in funding to municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area.


Quick Facts
• Northern Development has previously supported Geoscience B.C. with grant funding for the QUEST (North Cariboo area) and QUEST-West (Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako area) projects, totalling $2,400,000.
• The project proposes to deliver geophysical maps, aquifer information including delineated areas of newly identified aquifers, updates to previously mapped aquifer extents, and aquifer characterization information.
• The project also plans to interpreted quaternary depth maps, create reports for new groundwater monitoring wells (including well logs and pumping test results) and create aGIS-based decision support tool to allow open access to data gathered from the project to the public.

Joel McKay,
Director, Communications,
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Four new members have now taken their seats on the board of central and northern B.C.’s only economic development trust.

Four elected officials from across northern B.C. have officially joined Northern Development’s 13-member board of directors, filling vacancies created by the November municipal elections.
The new additions include:
• Luke Strimbold, Mayor, Village of Burns Lake (representing the Northwest region)
• Michael Racz, Electoral Area D Director, Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District (representing the Northwest region)
• Rob MacDougall, Mayor, District of Fort St. James (representing the Prince George region)
• Gerry Thiessen, Mayor, District of Vanderhoof (representing the Prince George region)

Their peers at the regional advisory committee level chose the board members through an election process. The Trust’s service area is divided into four regions (the Northwest, Northeast, Prince George and Cariboo-Chilcotin Lillooet). Each region has a regional advisory committee that is made up of elected officials that represent every municipality and regional district in that area. The regional advisory committees provide advice and support on the Trust’s grant and capacity building programs. Each of the new directors has previously served on a regional advisory committee, and Mayor Thiessen has previously served on the board.

The Trust’s 13-member board consists of eight elected officials (two from each region) and five provincial appointees. The Trust’s returning board members include:
• Evan Saugstad, Chair (provincial appointee)
• Gerald Wesley, Vice Chair (provincial appointee)
• Danny Schilds, Chair, finance committee (provincial appointee)
• Lori Ackerman, Mayor, City of Fort St. John (representing the Northeast region)
• Bill Streeper, Mayor, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (representing the Northeast region)
• Wendy Benyk (provincial appointee)
• Mitch Campsall, Mayor, District of 100 Mile House (representing the Cariboo-Chilcotin Lillooet)
• Sally Watson, Electoral Area E Director, Thompson Nicola Regional District (representing the Cariboo-Chilcotin Lillooet region)
• Thomas Hoffman (provincial appointee)


“On behalf of the board, I’d like to extend a big welcome to both our new and returning Directors. The next four years promises to be an exciting time for central and northern B.C., and your collective decision making will help strengthen and diversify our region’s economy,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development.


Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust

In 2012, Northern Development approved $60,000 in grant funding toward a significant expansion of the Lakes District arena and curling rink structures. The project was part of the recovery efforts to stimulate economic activity in the Burns Lake area following the Babine Forest Products explosion in January 2012.

The project connected and upgraded the Village’s existing arena and curling rink facilities in an effort to promote and improve community health, economy, recreation and spirit. The expansion included a squash court, climbing wall, children’s indoor play area, gym, equipment rental space, multi-use area and business space. The expansion added approximately 10,000 square feet of space top the existing curling rink and arena structures.

The project created 22 full-time and part-time positions during a two-year construction phase, which helped offset short-term displacement of workers impacted by the loss of Babine Forest Products. Northern Development’s $60,000 contribution to the project was granted out of the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program. Additional funding to complete the project was provided by the Province of British Columbia, the Village of Burns Lake, the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society and Tire Stewardship BC.

Mayor Luke Strimbold tells us: “The Lakeside Multiplex is a wonderful addition to Burns Lake. Not only does it help support active and healthy living in our community, but it provides a gathering place that can be used by residents all year long. It will also have a great economic benefit to Burns Lake as we are able to promote more recreational and leisure amenities which will help attract new residents and visitors to our area”.

Recent trail upgrades at the Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club are proof positive that the people of the North Peace aren’t afraid to get outside and embrace winter.

The Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club has been keeping the trails at Beatton Ski Park near Fort St. John maintained for more than 30 years, and recently wanted to begin major upgrades to encourage more residents to enjoy the great outdoors. Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation facilities program was perfectly aligned to provide the grant support the club needed to realize its goals.

The Trust approved an $18,000 grant that helped clear existing trails, build new trails and upgrade signage. More than 15 kilometres of trails are finished, the signs are up and locals are clipping in to their skis to check them out!

One Fort St. John resident told us, “this is one of the reasons we are staying in this community.”

The Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club is now also providing a free after school kids program to expand awareness of the park with other locals, and promote healthy and active lifestyles.

The president of the Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club Eliza Stanford tells us: “for all outdoor enthusiasts the Beatton Park trail expansion project has been an overwhelming success.”