May 2013 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance


The millions of dollars in funding the Trust committed to 1,130 projects since its inception


The number of jobs that have been created


The number of funding partners the Trust has teamed up with to attract more than $1 billion in new funding to the region


The percentage of investments in communities with less than 5,000 people


The millions of dollars community grant writers have been approved for in funding since 2010

New exhibit reveals the important role Chinese-Canadians played during the gold rush

Barkerville will transport visitors back in time to the golden days of Western Canada’s famous gold rush beginning May 16th this year.

Once North America’s largest northwestern city, today Barkerville offers visitors a chance to experience the 1800s amid the hustle and bustle of the 21st Century. Attracting 65,000 guests each year, visitors to Barkerville will be immersed in housing, costumes and residents true to the gold rush period. Gold panning, stagecoach rides, blacksmithing and theatrical reenactments take place all year round. This summer Barkerville will host the Canadian National Gold Panning Championships.

Designated as a Heritage Site and a National Historical Site of Canada, Barkerville is rich with history. Barkerville is home to 187,000 artifacts, 60,000 photos and a resource library of historical and archival documents. Barkerville’s exhibits are also a prime resource to help historians and others understand the rich history and role that Chinese-Canadians played during the rush.
“We recently sent a travelling exhibit of Chinese photographs and letters over to China. Over the next year and a half, it will tour a number of different museum sites throughout southern China, specifically in Guangdong province where a lot of the miners who were living in Barkerville of Chinese descent came from,” explained James Douglas, Manager of Visitor Experience at Barkerville.

Using iPad technology, this interactive exhibit allows users to add new information to a collection that includes more than 14,000 historical photographs. “The exhibit is an opportunity not only to actually bring things from Barkerville to China, but also bring information back to Barkerville,” said Douglas. In August, Barkerville will host programming to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chinese Freemasons in British Columbia.

The travelling exhibit will also be replicated and housed in B.C. In addition to educational exhibits, Barkerville is a premium source for quaint eateries and unique shopping opportunities. Make sure to stop at Goldfield’s Bakery for the annual pie eating contest, and McMahon’s Confectionery to visit a recreated version of a 1930s confectionary store. With events held until December, anytime is a good time to visit Barkerville. For those heading to Barkerville during the opening May long weekend, admission will be by donation.

The British Columbia Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BC AMTA) has reached a major milestone – matching more than 500 First Nations job seekers with sustainable mining-related careers. Participants in BC AMTA’s program are training to work in a variety of roles within the mining sector, including entrylevel occupations, professional roles, trades and apprenticeships. The mining sector in B.C. is anticipating a wave of major growth in the coming years, and the program supports the need to invest in aboriginal communities, which are often located within close proximity to mining projects. Although the mining industry has been working diligently to recruit a skilled workforce in recent years, the gap between job requirements and available skills remains evident at the local level. One example of training support offered by BC AMTA is the Pathways to Success certificate, which is designed to enhance students’ self-esteem, personal growth, and provide skills-based training in writing, numeracy, and communications.

Frances Supernault explores
B.C.’s Mount Polley Mine while attending the
BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association while
training for the entry level workforce program

BC AMTA is seeing benefits for both industry and local economies by aligning the needs of communities with the companies investing in their regions. With demand growing for this program, BC AMTA has been able to work with participants from more than 120 First Nations bands from across the province. In only three years, employees trained in the program have earned an estimated $26 million annually in wages and benefits. BC AMTA estimates that graduates of the program earn an average annual salary of $52,000 per year. “We’re thrilled to have generated success for our candidates in the last three years … we really started with just an idea and we built an organization and processes to ensure the success of our candidates,” said Laurie Sterritt, CEO of BC AMTA. The benefits are also clear for industry. Retention rates for mine employees recruited through BC AMTA’s program have been as high as 95%, significantly reducing the recruitment and retention costs for the industry. Supported in part by Northern Development, BC AMTA is able to continue and expand it’s programming within central and northern B.C.

“With a strong foundation and partnerships, there are many opportunities for BC AMTA to explore in the future” says Sterritt. “We’re very excited about the next couple of years, we feel the momentum and the acknowledgement by industry that our process works … we also hope that the value we bring to the industry extends to other industries and that other corporate partners join with us in the effort to attract a local workforce, and that benefits everybody.”

The Old Massett Village Council (OMVC) Culinary Arts program is showing locals how cooking is about more than just food – it’s also good practice for community and economic development. Established in 2007 in Old Massett on Haida Gwaii, the culinary arts program gives students the opportunity to learn and practice cooking skills without having to leave their home communities. “When we originally started this program it was about filling some of those economic gaps in the north,” said Patricia Moore, OMVC economic development planner. “[Traditionally], we fly in our chefs, we fly in our help and none of the money they make off of the resources stays on Haida Gwaii.” With a strong summer tourism industry on Haida Gwaii, there’s a demand for trained and experienced chefs in the food and beverage industry. However, to gain the necessary skills to work in the industry, aspiring chefs on Haida Gwaii are required to leave their homes and relocate to other communities off the islands.

The Old Massett Village Council saw the creation of a culinary arts program as a way to reverse the talent drain in their community and retain wellpaying jobs for locals. In addition to providing skills-based food training, the OMVC had to solve the issue of offering students with the pre-requisite hours of industry experience required to become a certified Red Seal chef. To solve this problem, the OMVC created opportunities for emerging chefs to provide healthy and nutritious meals to their community through hot meal programs at school, meals on wheels for seniors and a catering business. As part of its Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, Northern Development has invested in the renovation of the Old Massett Message from the Chair and CEO Surf and turf: Haida Gwaii culinary program aims to keep local chef talent at home Message from the Chair and CEO – continued on page 3 community hall kitchen. This new kitchen serves as a much needed space for culinary arts classes and learning opportunities to take place.

With the Haida Enterprise Corporation’s (HaiCo) recent purchase of West Coast Resorts, a vacation lodge on Haida Gwaii, there is even more opportunity to connect culinary students with the industry experience that they need. With unemployment rates close to 70%, an aging population and increasing rates of diabetes, the project is working to address some of the community’s most pressing economic and social concerns. The OMVC Culinary Arts program feeds approximately 200 people per day and serves more than 16,000 meals per year.

Past Northern Development interns have gone on to rewarding careers in economic development

Six University of Northern B.C. graduates began work with Northern Development Initiative Trust this month, kicking off the region’s firstever local government internship program. The year-long internship will provide the graduates with the ability to leverage the education and skills they gained at UNBC in communities throughout central and northern B.C. The goal of the program is to train graduates for long-term, rewarding careers in local government – and to keep northerners working and enjoying the lifestyle the north has to offer. “The need for bright, skilled young workers to support the coming growth across the north is now more apparent than ever before,” said Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Our hope is that, through a partnership with UNBC, we’ll find those graduates who are passionate about the north and want to work for communities across the region to build a stronger north.”

The program represents a partnership between Northern Development, UNBC and the Local Government Management Association. The interns will spend a month getting hands-on economic development experience at Northern Development’s office in Prince George, before heading to communities throughout the region including: Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Valemount, McBride, Fort St. James, Mackenzie and Prince George.

This new internship program builds on the Trust’s existing internship program, which in previous years has trained recent UNBC graduates for economic development positions throughout central and northern B.C.

Many past interns have found rewarding and highprofile careers in communities such as Terrace, Prince Rupert, Williams Lake and Kamloops. That six-month program will continue this year with four new economic development interns, as well as a finance intern and a communications intern who will be working with communities throughout central and northern B.C. to get more good news out about the region.

Audience enjoy musical acts at the ArtsWells Festival in Wells, B.C.

Nestled in the mountains of the Cariboo region, the community of Wells, B.C. has a long tradition of promoting and investing in the arts.

During the area’s second gold rush of the 1930s, local mining companies in the area sought to attract miners with musical talents as a strategy to build community and company spirit. A place of art, history and adventure, Wells is a destination for enthusiasts of the arts and the outdoors.

Wells boasts the ArtsWells Festival, held each year in early August and the Annual School of the Arts, which attracts students and instructors internationally.

Visitors and residents have year-round access to the natural wilderness, enjoying opportunities for world-class mountain biking, hiking, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and snowmobiling.

To learn more about this diverse community, visit Northern Development’s website.

Communities across central and northern B.C. are embracing the development of social enterprises across an array of economic sectors “We’ve seen a real change in the sector … we’re seeing a movement from wondering what [social enterprise] is to knowing what it is and wanting to implement it,” explained Kimberly Buksa, Social Enterprise Program Specialist, ENP. In partnership with Northern Development, ENP provided $360,347 in funding to more than 50 projects in central and northern B.C. since 2007. “We’ve had some really great projects and grants that have come out of the north … it makes us very proud to be in the region,” said Buksa. “The north was the first rural region we went to outside of Vancouver, it’s great to see all of that work pay off with the development of the sector.” Developing social enterprise in central and northern communities supports non-profits to become more financially sustainable, allowing them to better solve the social concerns in their communities. In 2012, in partnership with Northern Development, ENP has hosted seven social enterprise introduction workshops and funded 12 projects from non-profits in the north with close to $69,000.

In addition to facilitating learning and capacity building opportunities, ENP provides grants, up to a $10,000 maximum, to support organizations looking to strengthen and develop their operations. Feasibility, business and marketing planning are the typical areas of support requested from organizations. “A lot of other areas look to the north to see what’s being done to think about what they can be doing in their communities,” said Buksa. In the Nass Valley, the Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw is exploring the development of a social enterprise-style recycling program. Meantime, the Bulkley Valley Historical and Museum Society is creating a marketing strategy to widen its reach into B.C.’s cultural tourism sector.

Celebrating graduates of the Haida Gwaii Semester program, a post-secondary social enterprise on Haida Gwaii

In Prince George, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is looking at how a social enterprise catering company can benefit clients traditionally served by the CMHA. “The diversity and growth of social enterprise activity across northern and central B.C. is evident, but laying the structure for social enterprise to flourish is not without challenges,” said Buksa. “The hardest challenge is the travel, it’s hard for us to get out to the organizations, and for the organizations it’s hard to have the business resources they need. The remoteness of the [north] is the ongoing challenge.” To address these geographical barriers, the ENP team travels directly to communities to deliver workshops and provide support. For their celebration of Social Enterprise Day, the provincially recognized date of March 27, ENP used Internet technology and live streaming to reach northern communities who were not able to attend. In 2012, ENP worked with participants representing 19 communities and 52 organizations from across the north.

Communities and regional districts throughout central and northern British Columbia continued to grow in 2012 amid a wave of major investments across the province, utilizing Northern Development Initiative Trust’s slate of programs to spur economic development in the north.

2012 was a record year for the Trust, which surpassed a major milestone of 1,000 cumulative project approvals since inception in 2005. To date, Northern Development has committed $112 million in funding to 1,130 projects since the Trust was created. As a result of that funding commitment, 5,856 jobs have been created in central and northern British Columbia. But this would not have been possible without the 1,964 partners the Trust has teamed up with to attract more than $1 billion in new funding to the region.

Nearly three-quarters of the Trust’s investments since inception have gone into communities with less than 5,000 people. Beyond flowing some $5.9 million in funding to our communities in 2012, Northern Development has acted as a magnet for funds to flow into the region from other levels of government, organizations and institutions. Every year, the Trust sets a goal to attract at least $2.50 from other funding sources for every $1 it invests in projects and programs. Northern Development is proud to report that, since inception, the projects it has helped fund attract $9.15 from other funding sources for every $1 the Trust has invested.

Meantime, the Trust’s annual return on investment has remained above industry benchmarks. This is an important strategic objective of the Trust because it provides the operational funds with which to develop best practices, economic development partnerships, invest directly into program delivery, aid in capacity building and support business development. In 2012, Northern Development’s combined returns of 8.2% exceeded benchmark indexes on fixed income investments, and outperformed benchmarks on equity investment by 5.26%.

In 2012, Northern Development continued to serve the region through a variety of grant, loan and capacity building programs, which provide critical dollars to spur the diversification of the economy in central and northern B.C. In an effort to invest more money in the regions the Trust serves, the Regional Advisory Committees that help steer some of the Trust’s funding decisions chose to combine their regional development accounts and commence three-year strategic planning to increase funding outflow in 2013 and beyond. Also in 2012, Northern Development finished three years of intense work with the communities and regional districts it serves to launch four web-based investment portals. The portals are designed to showcase the incredible investment opportunities throughout central and northern B.C. and connect potential investors with key community contacts. Northern Development also added to its slate of business support programs in 2012, expanding the Northern Industry Expansion program to include supply chain financing loan guarantees for small and medium enterprises looking to secure high value contracts with major industries.

The Trust is happy to report that its grant-writing program continues to generate much-needed capacity for central and northern B.C. Since 2010, community grant writers have been approved for more than $70 million in funding.

Meantime, Northern Development has also continued to focus on building strong relationships with the communities and regional districts it serves. In 2012, the Trust published four print editions of its Building a Stronger North newsletter, which is delivered to more than 120,000 homes and businesses in the region and sheds new light on exciting economic development stories. In 2013, the Trust will transition the print newsletter to a digital edition in an effort to reach an even broader audience, and is leveraging social media to engage with its stakeholders more proactively than ever before. In 2012, the Trust also began to offer ongoing communications support services to the communities and regional districts it serves in an effort to empower them to engage more effectively with their residents and get their stories out to the wider world. Although 2012 was an exciting year, 2013 promises just as much as Northern Development works to collaborate, create and maintain relationships throughout its regions to build a stronger north for us all.