June/July 2023 - Newsletter

In this issue

The return of the spring salmon is a cause for celebration for several reasons; it is seen as an indicator of the health and balance of the ecosystems, it benefits the economy through commercial fishing and the spring salmon is highly valued for its rich flavours and is often associated with important ceremonies and feasts.

The Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Prince Rupert/Port Edward Society sees great value in the return of the spring salmon and for the ninth year in a row, hosted its Annual Salmon Festival on May 25 and 26 in Prince Rupert.

The two-day celebration featured multi-cultural dance groups from all over Northern B.C. and showcased dance performances from Indo-Canadian, Chinese lion dancers, Gitksan, Haisla, Wet’suwet’en, Nisga’a, Haida and Tsimshian Nations. Drums, beadwork, cedar hats and other cultural items were on display and for sale by local artisans.

Northern Development was proud to provide a $5,000 Fabulous Festivals and Events grant to the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Prince Rupert/Port Edward Society for the Salmon Festival. This is the first time the society applied for the grant, which is open to registered non-profit organizations and supports unique festivals and events throughout the region that contribute to service sector revenues in the local economy.

When Jayce Mann and Geoff Ronan purchased Pitka Bay Resort in February of 2022, they were taking over a business that had been a part of the Fort St. James community for 50 years.

Located on the shores of Stuart Lake, the resort offers fully contained one- or two-bedroom suites, tent campsites and full hook-up RV sites, along with a small store, boat rentals, and marina with fuel and boat launch.

After investing in and upgrading the property, the new owners decided that a new, online presence would modernize the business and assist in attracting more guests. At the time, the resort did not have a website and therefore, there was no ability for guests to book online.

Thanks in part to a $12,680 Competitiveness Consulting Rebate (CCR), the owners worked with a consultant to develop a website integrated with an online booking platform. The site also includes access for employees to allow them to assist clients in the booking process.

“Through the new website we can promote the resort and all it has to offer to potential guests worldwide,” said Mann. “We can also give our clients a vision through pictures of what is to be expected at Pitka Bay.”

The CCR program offers rebate to small and medium sized businesses in eligible industries for customized consulting services. Projects must focus on increased resiliency, productivity, revenues, profitability and/or job creation.

Photos: Northern Development

The annual Walhachindig was held on June 3. This festival attracts approximately 400 people and features local musicians, artisans, activities for kids and traditional foods prepared by local First Nations. Northern Development supported the festival with a $2,500 grant through the Fabulous Festivals and Events program.

Photo courtesy of the District of Kitimat.

Northern Development was invited to Kitimat on June 22 to sit on a panel of judges for the 2023 Kitimat Business Builders Competition.

The District of Kitimat and the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce teamed up with LNG Canada and Rio Tinto BC Works to invest in local entrepreneurs.

Felicia Magee, director of economic development for Northern Development, listened to pitches from local businesses about investments they need to grow their operations. The top three winners received $10,000 combined.

Congratulations to Vitality Spa and Clinic ($2,000), Big Jim’s Liquor Store ($3,000), and Harmonized Soul ($5,000) for winning the 2023 Kitimat Business Builders Competition.

This spring, Northern Development staff participated in both the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) and Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) annual meetings in Dawson Creek and Vernon respectively.

Attending these annual events creates a comfortable environment for Trust staff and local government representatives to touch base and strengthen relationships. Additionally, it allows Northern Development to further understand some of the trends and challenges facing local governments in Northern B.C.

Above: Holly Plato, director, communications, presents an update on Northern Development to those attending the NCLGA conference in Dawson Creek.

Above: Beginning a bicycling tour of the Okanagan Rail Trail during SILGA 2023 in Vernon.

With the hot summer sun upon us, spending a day at the pool is often top of mind for kids and adults alike.  In the District of Hudson’s Hope, residents anxiously await opening day of the Outdoor Public Swimming Pool which offers aquafit, family and public swimming, and a chance to relax in the summer.

Built in 2002/2003, the pool is now 20 years old and feeling the wear and tear of many swimming seasons. Annual repairs are completed to allow the facility to remain open, however, permanent repairs are needed to avoid a failure that would result in an extended closure of the facility.

In October of 2022, the District of Hudson’s Hope successfully applied for a $187,500 Recreation Infrastructure grant which will go towards replacing the pool liner, floor inlets and gutters to restore the outdoor pool to a watertight facility. Currently, 1,200 to 1,500 gallons of potable water a day are being lost through the failing pool liner.

“These essential renovations to the facility will ensure its continued economic viability,” said Tashana Winnicky, acting mayor of Hudson’s Hope. “Without these improvements, safety hazards as well as aesthetic deterioration will reduce future opportunities to host events and to maintain current programming.

“The local economy is largely dependent on a sustainable and growing population, for whom the municipality must maintain existing recreation infrastructure and services.”

The pool sees approximately 4,000 swimmers per season and employees several local students as lifeguards and other staff.

In 2010, Northern Development provided a $27,591 Community Halls and Recreation Facilities grant to support the installation of solar heating for the community pool.