July 2021 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance


of Trust funds invested in projects since 2005


projects approved since 2005


project applications approved in 2021


project applications received in 2021

Belle the bison visits the driving range at Poplar Hills Golf and Country Club.
Photo: Northern Development

Since 2016, Northern Development has approved nearly $160,000 into five projects at Poplar Hills Golf and Country Club (PHGCC) in Fort Nelson. From kitchen improvements to expanding the rental fleet, PHGCC has experienced success each time they tee’d off with a grant application to Northern Development.

“The support we’ve gratefully received from Northern Development has made a significant impact in the experience we offer our golfers,” said Louise Schindler, general manager, Poplar Hills Golf and Country Club. “As a non-profit society that manages and operates the club, these grants have eased the financial burden from various improvements as we strive to offer a quality golfing facility to all golfers in Northeast B.C.”

In March 2021, PHGCC was approved for a $50,000 Recreation Infrastructure grant to chip in with the costs of purchasing two golf simulators and installing them in modular to be placed in a rented space which will be easily accessible by the public throughout the year.

Rendering of the golf simulator setup.
Rendering: Poplar Hills Golf and Country Club

This unique project will make golf available to residents, students and visitors throughout the year, a significant increase for the community where winter settles in for more than half a year. PHGCC will be working with Fort Nelson Secondary School, Prophet River Indian Band and Fort Nelson First Nations to offer their students use of the simulator. These groups will be able to access the facility during school hours when the simulators are not open to the public.

“Bringing the two golf simulators is an innovative way for us to continue engaging with our golfing clients throughout the year while also enticing people who don’t golf to try the sport,” explained Schindler. “The technology that these simulators offer is incredible, and it will provide an experience that is unique to the region while also providing us with income throughout the year.”

Beyond bringing a new recreational activity to the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, the project is forecasted to introduce full time, permanent employment for two people and part time employment for up to three people. In addition, the simulators will be placed in a space that will be leased from the Fort Nelson First Nations, providing additional revenue to the landlord through rent.

Funding for this project is through Northern Development’s Recreation Infrastructure grant program. Earlier projects were approved through the Trust’s former Community Halls and Recreation Facilities grant program.

All photos: Northern Development

In “fore” years, Northern Development has approved over $88,250 in grant funding for upgrades to equipment and facilities at the Mackenzie Golf and Country Club (MGCC). Since the first grant was approved in 2017, approximately $130,000 in strategic projects has been completed at Mackenzie’s only golf facility.

“These grants have made a huge difference to the MGCC,” said Darrell Lavoie, president, MGCC. “The external funding has placed us in a much better position to serve the community with a quality golf course that provides a satisfying experience to resident and visiting golfers.”

The projects have created tangible benefits for MGCC, attracting new users and generating increased revenue. After completing their roofing project in 2018 with the support of a grant from Northern Development, the Mackenzie Nordiques rented the clubhouse for the winter, earning revenue for the MGCC in their off-season.

All five of MGCC’s grant applications have been prepared by Adele Barnes, MGCC’s fundraising coordinator. As an approachable funder, Northern Development staff have worked with Barnes to help ensure MGCC’s proposed projects are eligible for Northern Development funding programs.

“You have been very helpful in showing me how to prepare the application and final documentation at the end of the projects,” said Barnes. “Throughout, your friendly, considerate attitude has made it a pleasure to work with you. Thank you for your professional service to MGCC and to Mackenzie.”

Funding for MGCC has been through the Trust’s former Community Halls and Recreation Facilities grant program. This program was retired in September 2020 and replaced with the new Recreation Infrastructure grant program. Applicants now have more flexibility in grant amounts as either $100,000 to a maximum of 70 per cent for upgrades or repairs to an existing facility or up to $300,000 to a maximum of 50 per cent for new construction and/or substantial upgrades to existing facilities is now available.

All photos via 108 Golf Resort’s website

In 2019, following the downturn of the forestry industry, 108 Golf Resort pitched an application to Northern Development’s Forestry Affected Business Consulting Rebate program. The application was a hole in one and they were approved for $15,000 to assist with the costs of hiring a professional accountant to help them navigate the economic challenges they were facing.

Receiving the $15,000 rebate relieved 80 per cent of the costs incurred while contracting a consultant to boost their business. 108 Golf Resort was acutely aware of the impacts that two local mill shutdowns had on their business, specifically golf and restaurant revenues, and looked to a professional consultant to provide guidance on how to save the business and the jobs they provide.

The consultant worked closely with the onsite staff at 108 Golf Resort to help them gain better financial control of the business. Techniques to achieve this include new budgeting systems, cash management procedures and appropriate cost control measures. Working with the consultant, staff also made great strides in moving their application to develop a 12-lot subdivision forward in the approval process. The future subdivision will help 108 Golf Resort to earn revenue to pay off debt that was incurred during the forestry downturn and COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

On the human resources side, the consultant provided the leadership team with techniques for better management, which Hansen says has already proven to be invaluable.

Learnings from working with the consultant in response to the forestry downturn proved useful during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic when travel restrictions further compounded the challenges faced by 108 Golf Resort. The 2021 golf season started optimistically, with membership sales 30 percent higher than normal before the course even opened for the year. Increased revenues, matched with improved financial controls, means the grass is looking greener than ever for 108 Golf Resort!

Funding for this project came from Northern Development’s Forestry Affected Business (FAB) Consulting Rebate funding program. The program was introduced in August 2019 as an offshoot of the existing Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program. FAB was available to a broader range of industries than the Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program and was specifically designed to support and help businesses adjust to the economic downturn in the forestry industry. In April 2020, FAB was renamed Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate and adjusted to include businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about SBR here.

Recipients include three First Nations, three municipal governments and four non-profits

During their July board meeting, Northern Development’s board of directors approved $2,077,333 for 10 community development projects in their service region.

In the short term, approximately 190 temporary construction and consulting jobs are expected to be created throughout the region to help bring each of these projects to fruition.

Click here to read the full press release, learn about each of the 10 projects and hear from three of the grant recipients.

Photo: Doug Donaldson

In July, Northern Development welcomed Doug Donaldson to the board of directors. Donaldson is appointed by the Province of British Columbia to join the volunteer board that is comprised of elected local government representatives and other provincial appointees.

Doug Donaldson served as an elected three-term Member of the BC Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing the remote-rural constituency of Stikine for 11 years. As the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (2017-2020) he oversaw major reforms in forestry legislation and policy, new approaches to old forest management, land use planning and wildlife management and the rebuilding efforts for ecosystems and communities after the record-breaking 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons. His Official Opposition portfolio’s included mining, energy, Indigenous relations, and child and family development and for three years was the vice-chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.  He has also held public office at the municipal government level serving as a Village of Hazelton councillor from 1999-2009, during a time when Northern Development Initiative Trust came into existence and began supporting communities.

Donaldson lives on the territories of the Gitxsan First Nation in northwest British Columbia. He worked supporting the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on the successful Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa aboriginal title case to the Supreme Court of Canada as communications director with the Gitxsan Chiefs Office. He was a co-founder of Storytellers’ Foundation, a Hazelton-based NGO focused on community economic development and reconciliation, co-established the Upper Skeena Development Centre and helped create the Hazeltons’ Farmers Market. 

Donaldson is an associate fellow with the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies and holds a MA in journalism and a BSc in wildlife biology. He and his wife Anne live on Wilp Nikate’en territory in the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, in Two Mile just outside of Hazelton.