Communities throughout the region have leapt at the chance to take advantage of Northern Development Initiative Trust’s new Business Façade Improvement program. The program, which was launched earlier this year, provides up to $20,000 annually to municipalities and regional districts throughout the Trust’s service area in central and northern B.C.
“Northern Development is proud to continue to work with communities throughout the region to build a stronger north,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Like all of our funding programs, the Business Façade Improvement program represents a true partnership between the Trust and the communities we serve, supporting more vibrant businesses that help drive economic development.” The funding incents communities to partner with local businesses in their area to improve the look and feel of their commercial business areas.
[quote by=”Jack Mussallem” position=”Mayor” company=”City of Prince Rupert”]”This incentive is a tremendous opportunity for business owners to improve the appearance of the buildings on their property.”[/quote]
“These improvements will help attract and retain tenants and enhance the quality of life that residents, workers and visitors to Prince Rupert enjoy.” The Business Façade Improvement program supports visual improvements such as facades, signage, murals, architectural features, siding, lighting and awnings in an effort to enhance economic viability and vibrancy in central and northern B.C. communities.
Northern Development’s board of directors, which consists of elected representatives and provincial appointees from across central and northern B.C., this month approved funding for 12 applications to the program.
The communities that will receive up to $20,000
Business Façade Improvement grants are:
- City of Prince Rupert
- District of Wells
- Village of Burns Lake
- Town of Smithers
- City of Quesnel
- City of Williams Lake
- Village of Lytton
- City of Fort St. John
- Village of Port Clements
- Village of McBride
- District of Fort St. James
- City of Prince George
Municipalities and regional districts that applied to the program were required to develop and submit their business façade improvement plan/guidelines to Northern Development prior to approval. “Lytton is already a destination for tourists travelling up the Fraser Canyon every year, and this funding support will help the village partner with local businesses to enhance our community,” said Village of Lytton Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot. Those guidelines provide direction to local business owners about the eligibility criteria to obtain the business façade improvement grant. In addition to the look and feel of communities, the program also supports private sector investment in local business improvement and will result in increased assessed values and tax bases as a result of improved properties.
Businesses interested in partnering with their municipality on façade improvements must be located in one of the 12 communities approved for funding and must contact their local municipal representative for further program details.
“Thank you to Northern Development Initiative Trust for supporting our grant funding application,” said Village of Port Clements Mayor Wally Cheer. “This funding will support and strengthen the businesses that call Port Clements home.”