October 2019 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance


number of approved projects since 2005

$222.7 million

in funding approved since 2005


leveraged for every $1 of Northern Development funding invested

October has come and gone but our feelings of gratitude to all those who make our organization and our region better remain. We sincerely thank all those who volunteer to serve on our board of directors and our four regional advisory committees – 13 directors and 72 regional advisory committee members. Your time and insight are invaluable, ensuring that our entire service region is well-represented. We appreciate your steadfast vision for building a stronger north.

We also extend our gratitude to all our partners, including community leaders, business partners, industry leaders and the Province of B.C. Thank you for all you do to make Northern B.C. strong, vibrant and attractive.

Thank you to all the non-profits that work tirelessly to make their community better. To date, Northern Development has invested nearly $28 million for projects led by 477 non-profits throughout Northern B.C.

The three funding programs that receive the most applications from non-profit organizations are Community Halls and Recreation Facilities (CHRF) with 369 approved projects representing an investment of $8,989,894 to date, Fabulous Festivals and Events (FFE) with 216 approved projects representing an investment of $639,398 to date and Economic Diversification Infrastructure (EDI) 93 approved projects representing an investment of $12,358,345 to date.

Northern Development has divided its service region, which covers more than 70 per cent of the province, into four sub-regions: Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet, Northeast, Northwest and Prince George. Non-profit organizations in the Northeast Region have received the most amount of funding from Northern Development’s funding programs, nearly $6.9 million for 158 projects. Next, non-profits in the Prince George Region, which includes Mackenzie, Fraser Lake and Valemount, been approved for more than $6.2 million for 237 projects. In the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet and Northwest Regions, non-profits have received more than $5.5 million per region for 245 and 236 projects respectively.

The Trust also administers third-party funding on behalf of other organizations to non-profits. Combined, Northern Development has approved and administered 1,025 projects totaling $34.5 million in funding. BC Hydro GO Fund is one such third-party fund. To date, the Trust has administered 45 projects on behalf of this fund.

Nestled in the northwest corner of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is Bridge River Valley. The Bridge River Valley Community Association (BRVCA), which serves the nearly 200 full time residents and approximately 400 part-time residents living in Gold Bridge, Bralorne, Tyaughton Area, Marshall Lake and Gun Lakes, has successfully applied for $109,796 for 12 projects since 2013. We took a moment to chat with Jenny, Debbie, and Laurie from BRVCA to learn more about what the Trust’s funding has meant for their communities.

Q: First, can you please share with our readers what life is like in the Bridge River Valley?
Located 100 km west of Lillooet, the Bridge River Valley is a unique mountain community comprised of the smaller communities of Gold Bridge, Bralorne, Gun, Tyaughton and Marshall Lakes. With almost 200 hundred full time residents and approximately 400 part-time residents the valley is a close-knit, self-reliant community. The proximity to outdoor activities including world-class mountain biking, hiking, heli-skiing and snowmobiling means that the valley is also popular with visitors looking for pristine wilderness only a few hours’ drive from the Lower Mainland.

Regular community events including fall fairs, bingo luncheons, Canada Day celebrations, community bonfires and Winterfest are always well-attended and give community members a chance to connect with each other and support various community groups. There is a high level of volunteerism for such a small community which is evidenced in the sheer number of committees, social groups and two volunteer fire fighting departments – many of which fall under the umbrella of the Bridge River Valley Community Association.

Q: What are some challenges that residents of the area face? How has Northern Development’s funding helped alleviate these challenges?
Distance from regular services such as medical care, shopping, and tradespeople does present its challenges. Residents of the Bridge River Valley rely heavily on the postal service and cartage from Lillooet for supplies, particularly during the winter months. The main route into the valley is Road 40 which can be challenging driving in the winter months in addition to occasional avalanches or mudslides causing road closure.

Funding from Northern Development’s programs has helped to alleviate challenges by increasing awareness of the needs of remote and rural communities, improving community assets and resources, and supports the community’s efforts to grow permanent population for a more self-sustaining area.

Q: BRVCA has received funding from four of the Trust’s funding programs: Community Halls and Recreation Facilities (4), Fabulous Festivals and Events (4), Marketing Initiatives (3) and Capital Investment Analysis (1). Is there a project that received funding from any of these grant programs that really resonates with residents?
Every project supported by Northern Development’s grant programs resonates with residents throughout Bridge River Valley. The Trust’s programs have helped to drive economic diversity, develop brand identity and build awareness of the Bridge River Valley not only as a tourism destination, but also a great place to live and work. Funding from the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program have allowed communities to renovate and revitalize gathering spaces that are incredibly important to remote communities. Improvements to recreation facilities, especially in the community of Bralorne, has enabled community volunteers to revive the annual Bralorne Ball Tournament – a community legacy. Improved signage, e-commerce marketing, restoration of heritage sites, to name a few, have been advanced by the Trust’s Marketing initiatives and Capital Investment Analysis. Funding support through Fabulous Festivals and Events has resulted in the success and growth of Winterfest.

Q: As mentioned above, BRVCA received four grants through the Fabulous Festivals and Events program for Winterfest. How has the $10,000 over four years benefitted this annual event?
Winterfest is indeed a Fabulous Festival. It is one of the most anticipated events of the year, not only by full time residents, but also visitors, tourists, and part-time residents. Winterfest has grown in attendance, participation and popularity each year.

Q: All of BRVCA’s eligible projects that you’ve applied for funding for have been approved by Northern Development. Do you have any suggestions to other community associations that are looking for grants?
Northern Development Initiative Trust wants communities to be successful. They are a catalyst in stimulating economic growth and job creation, as well as an invaluable resource to community groups and organizations striving to move economic development initiatives to realization. The staff members are knowledgeable, approachable and available to answer questions about programs most suited to your community project or initiative. Call them!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
Bridge River Valley Community Association is thankful for the support of NDIT.

Indoor recreation opportunities abound with opening of the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in Hazelton

Above: Opening ceremonies for the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre involved many people from the community and region.

On September 14, the residents of northwestern B.C. celebrated the grand opening of the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre. The 54,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility has been eagerly anticipated by those in the Hazeltons and surrounding area for many years.

“After many years of planning and collaboration, it’s incredible to have the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre open and benefiting our region,” said Philip Germuth, chair of Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. “We’re grateful for all the partnerships that were built to bring this project to completion, including funding from Northern Development. The time and financial investments into this facility has created new opportunities for residents – economically, socially and for improved health that will last long into the future.”

The new recreation centre features an NHL-sized hockey rink, gymnasium, workout equipment, community space and spectator seating. This new building serves as a much needed community hub, especially during the cold and dark winter months, while also providing opportunity for new revenue generated through sport tourism.

Northern Development has invested $375,000 into this project. Of this, $250,000 went towards the construction of the building and $125,000 was used for equipment acquisition. The second grant included the purchase of basketball nets, gym mats, bleachers, rental skates, meeting room equipment and more. All of these funds have come from the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program.

Above: After the opening ceremonies, people were encouraged to use the facilities, including basketball courts and NHL-sized ice rink.

Time to get your plaid on!
Plaid Friday is coming up on November 29th! This is the third year Love Northern BC is driving this campaign to get communities excited about shopping locally during the holiday season! Communities host contests, late-night shopping nights and tradeshows to celebrate local businesses.

Northern Development’s Strategic Initiatives Fund is a unique program that puts communities in the driver’s seat to propose strategic projects that support economic transformation. This funding program is intentionally broad, allowing local governments and First Nations to submit proposals for large projects that produce a positive regional impact and enhance a community’s ability to overcome economic challenges.

In 2019, the Trust had $600,000 available through the Strategic Initiatives Fund. Applicants can apply for 100 per cent of the funds available, as long as the Trust’s investment does not exceed 80 per cent of the eligible project budget. Northern Development’s board of directors met on October 23 to review applications to the Strategic Initiatives Fund. Stay tuned to our website and social media channels for funding announcements through this grant program in the coming months.

Learn more about the Strategic Initiatives Fund.