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Clean infrastructure benefits people in northern, coastal, central B.C.

People in communities across northern, coastal and central B.C. will benefit from new clean energy projects and transportation infrastructure that will create jobs, support local economies and help meet CleanBC’s goals of a cleaner, stronger province.

A partnership between provincial and federal governments, 25 local governments and First Nations communities will bring 55 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the northern and central regions of the province. This expansion of the existing EV charging network will increase clean transportation options for people, support the local clean economy and reduce pollution.

“Expanding electric vehicle stations across northern, central and coastal B.C. will make clean transportation options more viable to more people,” said Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Supporting green energy solutions like this, as well as projects such as the Nuxalk Nation’s run-of-river hydroelectric plant, is essential to building strong resilient communities. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”

The project will more than double the number of Level 2 EV charging stations available in participating communities, stretching from Haida Gwaii to Prince George to Logan Lake, across more than 300,000 square kilometres.

More than $345,000 through the provincial CleanBC Communities Fund and $415,000 through federal government’s Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program will support these expansion projects. The participating regional districts, municipalities and First Nations will contribute more than $275,000 to the project.

“Partnerships with governments and communities are key to our CleanBC plan for a cleaner, better and more affordable future for people in our province as we implement our climate plan,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Whether it’s better options for people with electric vehicles that are convenient and affordable, or new clean energy leadership by Indigenous communities in the Great Bear rainforest, we’re committed to investing in these partnerships as we work together to support a strong recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and build a sustainable future for everyone.”

The expanded EV charging network is part of the Charge North project – a community-led initiative that aims to electrify close to 2,800 kilometres of highway across central and northern B.C. Charge North is led by six regional districts, in co-ordination with the Community Energy Association.

Another CleanBC Communities Fund project supports Nuxalk Nation’s plan to build a run-of-river hydroelectric plant on the Nooklikonnik Creek that will offset diesel electricity production and provide clean energy for people in the Bella Coola valley. Once complete, the project will reduce approximately 190,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the lifetime of the plant – roughly equal to taking 68,000 cars off the road for a year.

The Nuxalk Nation project is receiving $1.65 million from the Province’s CleanBC Communities Fund and $8.27 million from federal government’s Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“By investing in people and communities throughout the North Coast region, we can build a better future where clean energy powers our vehicles, homes and businesses,” said Jennifer Rice, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, and MLA for North Coast. “We are proud to partner with communities and First Nations in northern B.C. and across the province to invest in the kinds of projects that strengthen community resiliency, create local jobs and build on Indigenous knowledge and connections towards a more sustainable and equitable path forward.”

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.

Quotes:

Wally Webber, Chief, Nuxalk Nation –

“The Nuxalk Nation is extremely proud to be partnering with the provincial and federal governments in our Nooklikonnic Creek run-of-the-river hydroelectric project. Our newly formed Clean Energy Department has worked diligently for the past two years to make our dream a reality. We are very proud to contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide and to a cleaner and more sustainable environment in the central coast of B.C. Our Nooklikonnic Creek hydroelectric plant will not only create jobs and support the Nuxalk economy, but will also enhance contributions to a cleaner and stronger region.”

Barry Pages, chair, North Coast Regional District, and mayor of Masset –

“We are excited about the announcement of funding for the Charge North electric vehicle network project, and it is great to see this new technology in the North. Our communities appreciate all the work and dedication that the partners involved have put into this project, and we look forward to the roll out of this new sustainable infrastructure.”

Lee Brain, mayor of Prince Rupert, and member of B.C.’s Climate Solutions Council –

“This initiative is something that we’ve been working on at the Charge North Advisory Committee for the last two years and is an example of what can be accomplished when we work together as one to solve common objectives. This infrastructure is key to empowering the use of EVs in the North by our residents and tourists alike, planting the seeds for future economic development and signals that our region welcomes a cleaner transportation future.”

Dale Littlejohn, executive director and chief administrative officer, Community Energy Association –

“Charge North is an inspiring example of collaborative leadership – six regional districts and 43 municipalities, Indigenous communities and Northern BC Tourism, working together to address greenhouse gas emissions from transportation while supporting economic development and enhancing tourism opportunities. Community Energy Association is excited to now move the project from planning to implementation with funding support from the Province, Northern Development Initiative Trust and participating local governments.”

Quick Facts:

  • The CleanBC Communities Fund invests in public infrastructure owned by local governments, Indigenous communities, not-for-profits and projects in partnership with for-profit entities.
  • Together, the federal and provincial government have announced a total investment of more than $46 million in 11 projects across British Columbia, as part of the first intake of the CleanBC Communities Fund.
  • Examples of eligible projects include electric-vehicle charging stations, public building retrofits to improve energy efficiency and clean energy projects that reduce community energy expenses and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The CleanBC Communities Fund is part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Green Infrastructure Stream.
  • Through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Learn More:

More information on the CleanBC Communities Fund, including program eligibility criteria and how to apply for the next intake, is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/cleanbc-communities-fund  

Read about the Government of B.C.’s CleanBC plan: www.cleanbc.gov.bc.ca

For more information on the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Investing-in-Canada-Infrastructure-Program

For more information on Charge North, visit: www.chargenorth.ca

A backgrounder follows.

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