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Province partners with northern communities to strengthen services for people

Province partners with northern communities to strengthen services for people

May 13, 2021 at 9:20 am  BC, News, Politics

People living in northern B.C. communities experiencing rapid economic growth will benefit from increased health, mental health and social services through new projects funded by the Northern Healthy Communities Fund.

“People in northern B.C. know their communities best, which is why we provided $150 million over the past two years for local governments’ infrastructure priorities,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Now we’re partnering with the Northern Development Initiative Trust to help First Nations, local governments and service organizations meet the needs of families in fast-growing communities. Our government is supporting the building blocks of healthy, sustainable and resilient communities by boosting the services people count on, like child care, health, mental health and addictions counselling, and small business recruitment.” 

This first round of funding from the Northern Healthy Communities Fund delivers more than $2 million for 16 projects to support people in communities with new and expanded local services. Projects focus on increasing access to mental health care and addictions counselling, expanding a variety of services provided by local and First Nations governments, and upgrades to child care and supportive housing facilities.

The Northern Healthy Communities Fund is a partnership between the Province and the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The trust administers the program on behalf of the Province.

“We applaud the Province’s recognition of the importance of building and maintaining healthy communities, especially in areas seeing fast and extensive growth,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “These initial 16 projects offer immensely valuable services that really reflect the intention of the fund.”

The following are examples of how the Northern Healthy Communities Fund will help make a difference for people:

  • Vulnerable people in Terrace will benefit from better access to mental health and addictions supports with a new mental health outreach worker joining the Ksan House Society.
  • Families and young people in Doig River First Nation near Fort St. John will be able to use early childhood and youth programming through the new Dane che’ adliih de’ kwa centre.
  • Renovations to the Bulkley Valley Little Horizons Child Care Association will benefit parents and families in Smithers.
  • Community workshops through the Kitimaat Valley Education Society Leadership Training Initiative will provide strategies for leaders, industry partners and small business owners to manage and lead organizations into the future.
  • A new fire engine for the Village of Fraser Lake will increase emergency service response and improve safety for residents in the area. 
  • The Regional District of Kitimat Stikine is receiving funding for a First Nations liaison to build relationships and increase collaboration on mutual interests with Indigenous governments and partners in the region. 

“People in northern B.C. need access to quality mental health and addictions care close to home,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Working with our partners, people in northern communities will now benefit from more services to better support them along their wellness journey.”

The Northern Healthy Communities Fund is providing $25 million to eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations that provide critical supports and services to people in growing communities near the LNG Canada and Coastal Gaslink projects.

Communities and organizations will receive funding over the next five years, disbursed quarterly through a series of intakes. The program is now accepting applications for the next round of funding to be announced this summer. Successful projects will be announced quarterly until 2026.

The full list of funding projects is available here: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/5-13_NHCF.pdf

Quotes:

Michelle Storey, director, Bulkley Valley Little Horizons Child Care Centre

“Our child care centre provides a quality early learning experience for over 150 families in the Bulkley Valley community. The Northern Healthy Communities Fund project grant will help Little Horizons Child Care transform our new space to a facility that really meets our needs and supports the community.”

Amanda Owens, executive director, Ksan Society

“Our new mental health outreach clinician will bring a new level of supports to the ones we are already providing. With the addition of this specialized program, we hope to be more responsive to the severe and persistent mental health needs of the folks we serve; both addressing immediate concerns and connecting them with other specialized services in a timely manner.”

Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine

“The Northwest has experienced rapid economic growth with an increasing need for essential services. This investment from our government will expand critical services such as child care, health care, mental health and addictions counselling, supportive housing and so much more. This way we can continue to support people in our resilient and growing communities.”

Quick Facts:

  • Northern Healthy Communities funding is available through two streams:
    • Capacity Building projects that help increase capacity for existing services or develop new programs, and
    • Capital projects that help upgrade, improve or build facilities assisting those in communities delivering services.
  • Collectively, LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink will create up to 10,000 jobs during the construction of an export facility and connecting pipeline. The LNG Canada project will generate 350 to 450 permanent jobs, with the initial startup and commissioning of the export facility scheduled for 2025.
  • Since 2019, the Province has also provided $150 million in grants to help local governments with planning and infrastructure improvements through the Northern Capital and Planning Grant.

Learn More:

For more information about the Northern Development Trust, visit: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/

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