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Funding delivers stronger supports for northern B.C. communities

Funding delivers stronger supports for northern B.C. communities

September 14, 2021 at 8:32 am  BC, News, Politics

Nine new projects funded through the Northern Healthy Communities Fund will boost health, mental health and social services for people living in northern B.C. communities that are experiencing rapid economic growth.

“Communities across northern B.C. are at the centre of significant economic growth that is creating opportunities and jobs for people,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We’re partnering with Northern Development Initiative Trust, First Nations, local governments and non-profit organizations to expand the important services that families need during this time. These new projects will enhance child care and outreach services and provide greater supports for mental health and wellness to help communities build resilience.”

Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the Northern Healthy Communities Fund on behalf of the Province. In this latest round of funding, nine projects are receiving nearly $850,000, which will support people with new and expanded local services through the second intake of the Northern Healthy Communities Fund.

“These latest projects really exemplify the intent of the fund – to improve and sustain crucial social services in communities experiencing swift growth,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Food security, child care and counselling are essential supports for safe and healthy places to live and work.”

Below are a few examples of new projects that will help make a difference for people in northern B.C.:

  • Families in the Fort St. John area will have more access to child and youth programs, and expanded job placement and training programs with the expansion of the Fort. St. John Friendship Society’s building.
  • Parents and caregivers will have more access to support services for youth experiencing mental health and addictions challenges with the expansion of Foundry services through the Terrace and District Community Services Society. 
  • Renovations to the South Peace Child Development Centre will provide more daycare spaces and better access to child care for parents and families in Dawson Creek.
  • Vulnerable people in Burns Lake will benefit from improved food security with upgrades to the Link Food Centre, making it safer and more efficient for staff to operate and serve the public.

“This funding will provide a long-awaited expansion for Fort St. John Friendship Society, including a new and inclusive preschool space that meets the accessibility needs of our community members,” said Anita Lee, executive director, Fort St. John Friendship Society. “In addition, our child and youth programs and job placement programs will be expanded to provide more of these critical services, which will make a huge difference in our community.”

Eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations that provide supports and services to people in growing communities near the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink projects can apply for project funding under the $25-million Northern Healthy Communities Fund.

“Our new Family Peer Support worker will directly support family members of youth who access the Foundry Terrace site,” said Michael McFetridge, executive director, Terrace and District Community Services Society. “This addition increases the accessibility for youth 12 to 24 and their families to receive supports and services for physical health needs, substance use, mental health, social services and cultural wellness needs at the Foundry Terrace site.”

The program is accepting applications for the next round of funding. Successful projects will be announced in the fall. New projects will be announced quarterly until 2026.   

The full list of projects is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NHCF_Projects.pdf

Quick Facts:

  • Northern healthy communities’ funding is available through two streams:
    • Capacity-building projects that help increase capacity for existing services or develop and deliver new programs; and
    • Capital projects that help upgrade, improve or expand facilities that assist those in communities delivering services.
  • Collectively, LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink will create as many as 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 mid-decade.
  • Since 2019, the Province 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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