September 2022 - Newsletter

In this issue

People gather for a group photo on and under the deck of the new day lodge.
All photos: Northern Development

On September 24, Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club (WJNSC) celebrated the grand opening of their brand-new day lodge in Beatton Provincial Park on Charlie Lake. The club’s 200-plus members will enjoy a warm, bright facility for many years to comfortably extend their time on the trails by having a cozy place to warm up – a necessity considering the northeast’s cold winter climate.

“The day lodge will form an important aspect of the overall experience and be the home base for winter recreation enthusiasts of the North Peace,” said Eliza Stanford, past president, WJNSC, in the club’s grant application. “The community benefits are extensive and reach into all areas of life in the North and reach not only local residents but also visitors to the community.”

Prior to the lodge’s completion, children and parents would have to sit in idling vehicles to warm up during or after their ski lesson. Now, they will be able to enjoy the benefits of an indoor wood-burning fireplace before returning to the trails.

“Now that this project is complete and many people have seen it up close, ideas for events are overflowing our inbox,” said Stanford. “We are truly looking forward to this coming winter when we can welcome skiers and other visitors to Beatton Park into the lodge to warm up around the wood stove and look out on a glorious boreal winter forest, with skiers whizzing right past the windows!”

The fully accessible 30×50 foot lodge features vaulted ceilings, efficient wood-burning fireplace, ample windows, energy-efficient lighting, tables and benches, automatic door entry and a barrier free entrance. Downstairs is a walkout basement, which stores an ever-growing rental fleet and event hosting supplies. A large deck extends above the basement doors.

The bright building will be available for rent to community members, providing a new source of income to the club. The new revenue stream will be reinvested in the building, for ongoing and future maintenance of the club’s new asset.

WJNSC made quick work of constructing the building once Northern Development approved funding in July 2021. By August 2022, the project was completed and the lodge will be ready for the 2022/23 ski season. Northern Development invested $298,396 in grant funding through the Recreation Infrastructure program to support this $794,631 project.

Northern Development staff stand outside the new Vanderhoof Cultural Centre, which was opened earlier in the summer.
All photos: Northern Development

On September 1 and 2, Northern Development staff toured Vanderhoof and Prince George, visited several projects and enjoyed time away from the office.

Highlights on the first day included warm hospitality and a roundtable discussion at the Vanderhoof Menshed, a tour of the new Vanderhoof Cultural Centre and museum, and visiting the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre.

Vanderhoof Menshed members inside the Burrard Market Building.

Staff toured the Burrard Market Building, which the Vanderhoof Menshed Society purchased in 2020, with a $216,611 grant from Northern Development. The building has space for members to fix items for Vanderhoof residents who may not be able to afford to hire someone to repair them.

“As an organization, we focus on the mental and physical well-being of our members, and the permanency of this facility provides a greater sense of security for the future,” said John Alderliesten, Vanderhoof Menshed Society. “Additionally, we will be increasing our various revenue streams, particularly the construction of docks and sheds, which allows us to better serve our community.”

On Friday, the morning started with a coffee stop at Uda Dune Baiyoh in downtown Prince George before visiting the Prince George Lawn Bowling Club for a lesson and game of lawn bowling. The day was concluded  at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club.  

Lawn bowling with the Prince George Lawn Bowling Club.

Earlier this year, Northern Development approved a $20,738 grant for the Prince George Lawn Bowling Club to assist with the cost of replacing the treated wood timbers that surround the bowling green. Replacing the boards will improve safety at the facility and provide a professional environment that will have a positive impact on memberships and tournament bookings. Funding for this replacement project is through the Community Places grant program.

The staff retreat is an annual occurrence that allows the entire staff team to visit with proponents and see the impact that Northern Development has in the region.

Alive After Five featuring live music in downtown Quesnel.
Photo: Downtown Quesnel via Facebook

Each Tuesday this summer, downtown Quesnel was buzzing with activity as people gathered at Spirit Square for Alive After Five, a pilot program that brought live music to a revitalized stage at the corner of Reid Street and St. Laurent Avenue. Completed with the help of a $180,960 grant from Northern Development, the City of Quesnel strategically revamped Spirit Square to create a sense of place that complements their brand while improving the stage, electrical components, equipment and storage.

Screenshot of a City of Quesnel Facebook post announcing the first Alive after 5 event.
Photo: City of Quesnel via Facebook

Funding was approved through the Strategic Initiatives Fund in 2019, months before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Subsequent public health orders meant that the live entertainment pilot part of the project was delayed until 2022. Beginning in May and ending on September 6, Spirit Square was activated each week, weather permitting, to draw people downtown and provide a free, accessible activity on weeknights for residents and visitors.

Improving Spirit Square and hosting regular events is part of Quesnel’s economic development transition strategy, to strategically guide the community away from its reliance on the forestry sector and towards other industries, including tourism. According to the City of Quesnel’s application, the economic benefits from the project are a strong downtown with no storefront vacancies on Reid Street, increased events held at Spirit Square and increased visitors to the community.

This is the second of four Strategic Initiatives Fund grants that the City of Quesnel was approved for since 2018. In 2020 and 2021, they were approved for the Quesnel Waterfront Development and Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentives projects, respectively. Combined, the City of Quesnel has accessed more than $1,693,000 in Strategic Initiatives Fund grants to support four projects with budgets totaling $2,124,719.

Above numbers are 2022 year to date.

Businesses today face a myriad of challenges that affect their resilience, profitability and competitiveness. Northern Development offers a trio of business development programs to support businesses as they strategically approach and overcome these hurdles and thrive in their industry and seek new opportunities.

“In the first nine months of 2022, we have approved funding for 25 Northern B.C. businesses,” said Felicia Magee, director, economic development. “These rebates directly support businesses as they contract professional consultants to help guide them and improve their business. Funds remain available to businesses and our team looks forward to connecting with interested applicants to discuss their project ideas.”

Applications to all business development programs are accepted on an ongoing basis and are reviewed by staff as they are received. Funding is still available for projects that start in 2022.

Funding programs for small- and medium-sized business are:
Competitiveness Consulting Rebate: A rebate of up to 50% to a yearly maximum of $30,000
Northern Industries Innovation Fund: A rebate of up to 50% to a yearly maximum of $50,000
Small Business Recovery Consulting Rebate: A rebate of up to 85% to a yearly maximum of $30,000

For any questions about the business development programs and if you are eligible to apply, call Northern Development at 250-561-2525 or email

Members of the 2022 intern cohort pictured during their orientation in Prince George.
Photo: Northern Development

On September 8, two new web pages were added to Northern Development’s website to better share information about the Trust’s two internship programs and to clearly represent how the programs build capacity in Northern B.C.

The internship program page streamlines the application process for recent post-secondary graduates and for host governments. The second page features intern alumni who continue to work in local or First Nations government.

“Since 2009, Northern Development has been offering internship programs to attract talented post-secondary graduates to the north and to hopefully keep them here,” said Alanna Le Cerf, internships program manager. “With the newly organized internships web page, prospective interns can easily learn about the program and apply without navigating between pages. Visitors to the page can also see where intern alumni are working and read some testimonials.”

To date, 128 interns have found paid employment through the internship programs. Of these alumni, over 50 continue to work in local or First Nations government. For those looking to join the program, application timelines will be published in the coming months.

Ananya Bhattcharya at Takla First Nation’s office during her internship.
Photo: Northern Development

“The First Nations government internship was the steppingstone in my professional journey,” said Ananya Bhattcharya, First Nations government internship alumni. “It was the perfect opportunity to exercise my passion, experience the North and apply the skills I gained in my education to provide additional capacity to a First Nations community. Through my internship, I received excellent mentorship, worked on several exciting projects, made lifelong connections and learned about the rich history and culture of the First Nations peoples.”

The intern alumni page features photos and information about 47 intern alumni who are currently employed by a government, including First Nations, regional districts and municipalities. Take a moment to browse the page and see the far-reaching impacts of the internship program:

View the redesigned internships program page here: