Small Town Love landed in Williams Lake’s Boitanio Park earlier this month as hundreds of people turned out to celebrate the city’s new shop local campaign.
Small Town Love, a partnership between Northern Development, Quesnel-entrepreneur Amy Quarry and nearly two dozen communities throughout the region, is fast becoming one of the largest shop local marketing efforts in North America. It now includes 24 communities and more than 1,000 independently owned businesses stretching from 100 Mile House to Fort Nelson, and Valemount to Haida Gwaii.
The event at Boitanio Park earlier this month marked the launch of www.lovewilliamslake.com, signalling the Cariboo city’s entrance to the program. The website features stories, photographs and a search function to quickly find the city’s most interesting, unique and independently-owned businesses.
Love Williams Lake launched with 56 businesses, and new businesses can be added to the marketing effort on an ongoing basis. The event in Williams Lake featured food, on-stage and children’s entertainment, prize draws, grab bags and a marketplace that featured a number of participating businesses.
Northern B.C.’s trails are quickly gaining traction with gear heads throughout Western Canada.
The Northern B.C. Mountain Bike Recreation and Tourism Development strategy has been awarded the 2015 Silver Award for Excellence in Policy Planning for Small Towns and Rural Areas. The award comes from the Planning Institute of British Columbia but wouldn’t have been possible without region-wide teamwork supported by Northern Development, said Martin Littlejohn, executive director, Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association.
“This wouldn’t have happened without Northern Development,” said Littlejohn. “Northern Development has been absolutely central to this project, coaching us all the way through to get the funding in place we needed to make it a success.”
The strategy brings together 12 communities and three regional districts with a common goal to maintain, improve and promote central and northern B.C.’s world-class mountain biking trails. Northern Development has collaborated with communities, mountain biking associations and marketers across the region to support a cohesive strategy for the region. That strategy helps diversify the economy in central and northern B.C., but also makes the region a more attractive place to visit and live.
“One of the things that’s key is that the strategy helps to provide valuable recreation amenities for the people that live in these communities, it builds a culture and community around mountain biking,” said Littlejohn. “With that comes a greater sense of pride in those local areas.”
During the last several years, the Trust has provided funding for trail development in Williams Lake, Prince George, Smithers, Burns Lake, Wells and elsewhere. The Trust has also worked to help promote the Big Pig Mountain Bike Festival in Burns Lake and provided support for ridethecariboo.ca, an online marketing initiative to promote Cariboo mountain biking destinations to travellers from all over the world. Littlejohn said his group is now focused on working with smaller communities such as Houston, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Mackenzie to add them to the list of destinations for riders who live in or visit the region.
To learn more about mountain biking in northern B.C. and how the Trust has supported it, check out this infographic we created:
Accessing funding isn’t always a simple or easy process – we’re trying to make it simpler. This week we published a new brochure that helps answer one of the most common questions our finance staff receive: “I’ve been approved for funding. Now what?”
The brochure is designed to succinctly explain everything that happens after an applicant has been approved for funding – from the contract to receiving the money and reporting back to us about your success. Over the last year, we’ve introduced a number of tools to simplify our application and approval processes including: a funding program matrix, updated application forms and guides available online, an interactive funding program wizard on our website and new success stories that provide examples of how our funding has been used to make a difference in hundreds of different ways throughout the region over the last decade.
Still too complicated? Let us know! Our staff prides themselves on continuous improvement. Click here to download our post-approval brochure now.
Taylor’s Lone Wolf links will shine green
Golfers can look forward to better turf conditions in Taylor’s community owned course, thanks to an upgrade to the Lone Wolf Golf Course’s irrigation system. Northern Development has approved a $10,269 grant to help upgrade the irrigation system’s existing field controllers and install a new central control software. The upgrades mean the irrigation system is better able to determine the right amount of water needed for each area of the golf course, improving turf conditions, reducing over-watering and preventing soil erosion. The total project budget is $120,000.
Community kitchen will cook up activity in Likely
Residents and visitors in Likely will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of a new community kitchen. Northern Development has approved a $30,000 grant to help build a community and industrial kitchen immediately adjacent to the Likely community hall. The new facility will be available for rent any time of year. The kitchen allows residents to produce large quantities of canned and preserved foods to last the winter months when road conditions are often unpredictable. The space can also be utilized for catering for weddings, family reunions and other community events. The total project budget is $120,115.
Accessibility improvements underway at Bouchie Lake hall
Residents of Bouchie Lake will soon be able to enjoy a far more accessible community hall. Northern Development has approved $30,000 for upgrades to the hall that include a ramp installation for the main entrance, a covered walkway and removal of uneven, cracked concrete stairs. Safety upgrades to the hall also include the installation of handrails, guard railings and exterior lights. The changes to the hall, which is 40 years old, mean more people in the community will be able to enjoy events and festivities at the facility, extending its life and ensuring the heart of the community remains strong and vibrant. The total project budget is $188,475.
Queen Charlotte camping just got a whole lot better
A second set of upgrades to the Hayden Turner Campground in the Village of Queen Charlotte has created more options for overnight visitors to Haida Gwaii. Northern Development has approved a $8,715 grant to help rebuild two walk-in campsites on the beach, build two sets of benches and fire pits for the beach sites and upgrade the local trail network to include two access routes to beach campsites. The upgrades are the second phase of a project that previously included improvements to Hayden Turner Campground’s RV and tent sites, water systems, washrooms and trails. The improvements mean more travellers will choose to stay in the Village of Queen Charlotte with oceanfront camping when they visit Haida Gwaii, generating more revenue for the local economy. The total project budget is $17,431.
The Iskut First Nation can host more workshops and elder and youth gatherings in their community now that the local hall has been renovated, thanks in part to funding from Northern Development. Iskut, a small community of a few hundred members located along Highway 37 near Dease Lake, began extensive renovations of the hall in 2011 in order to bring it up to the standards of the community. The hall, originally built in 1977, had never previously received upgrades or renovations, making it difficult for the Iskut to host events locally. The Iskut First Nation provided more than $200,000 in funding to support the upgrades. Additional funding came from Barrick Gold Corp. ($500,000) and Northern Development ($30,000). Northern Development’s grant funding was provided through the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, and was used to purchase new equipment to make it easier for the hall to host events. The renovations mean the community will be able to host more revenue-generating events that will support the local economy, and that the hall will remain a permanent and central fixture in Iskut.
Iskut First Nation band manager Feddie Louie said of the upgrades: “It means the community has a functional community hall that is nice, clean and bright and can hold more functions than ever before.”
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Love Northern BC is a movement connecting people with the independent locally-owned businesses that are the heart and soul of their communities.