Northern Development Initiative Trust produced a record year in 2014 for funding announcements and funds disbursed.
In total, the Trust approved $10.5 million in funding for 314 projects last year. This is a staggering increase compared with $5.5 million approved for 209 projects during 2013. The driving force behind the increase in funding approvals last year was Northern Development’s decision to increase the annual grant allocation from 5% to 7%, which built on the success of the decision to combine the regional investment accounts in 2013. Northern Development’s investment portfolio has averaged a 6.8% annual return over the last nine years, including the equity downturn of 2008.
The decision to flow out funds equivalent to the long term average of the capital base, made by the Trust’s board of directors, has meant that a total of $11.4 million in grants were available to local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations throughout central and northern B.C. in 2014.
A large proportion of the Trust’s funding approvals last year were attributed to 13 approvals for $250,000 grants to various communities under the Trust’s Economic Development Infrastructure program. The Trust approved seven airport-related grants, totalling $1,236,800. These projects include the Mackenzie Airport Improvement Study, the Prince Rupert Airport Improvement, the Northwest Regional Airport Apron Expansion, the Northwest Regional Airport Air Terminal Expansion, the North Peace Airport’s Parking Facilities Expansion, the Anahim Lake Airport Runway Strip Improvements and the North Peace Regional Airport’s Terminal Improvements.
The Trust also supported a variety of smaller-scale projects this year. A $30,000 grant to support the Toosey Indian Band’s initiative to create the ‘Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation’, a $30,000 grant to the City of Dawson Creek in an effort to support renovations for the exhibition ground grandstand and $30,000 in funding for the Cariboo Regional District’s Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail Improvement project, to name a few.
In addition to increasing the annual grant allocation, the Trust also saw a significant increase in demand and applications last year to support infrastructure projects throughout the region. The increase in applications, in many cases, is related to the economic boom underway throughout northern B.C. which has placed new pressures on communities and a need for economic development-related infrastructure upgrades.
“Northern British Columbia will continue to be key in driving a strong and growing economy in our province in the years ahead. With a significant opportunity for new projects and job growth, the Northern Development Initiative Trust has a critical role to play in supporting communities and our region with grants that enhance economic development-related infrastructure improvements,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond.
“2014 has been a great year for the Trust, both in terms of the return from our investments that allows for these investments to be made, and the continued response from our communities in developing these important projects,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Northern Development Initiative Trust