More supports on the way for northern B.C. communities

March 16, 2022 at 10:03 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

New projects supported by the Northern Healthy Communities Fund will help strengthen social and emergency services in northern B.C. communities that are experiencing rapid economic growth.

“Our government is committed to ensuring people in northern B.C. communities have the social and emergency services they need during this period of rapid economic growth,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This funding will help local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations provide their communities with key social supports and help keep people safe.”

On behalf of the Province, Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the Northern Healthy Communities Fund. Through the third and fourth intakes of the fund, eight projects are receiving $905,905 to support people with new and expanded local services.

“We’re pleased to have approved funding for a variety of local governments, First Nations and non-profits during the third and fourth intakes of this fund,” said Joel McKay, CEO at Northern Development Initiative Trust. “These projects will support communities now, during the construction phases of the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink projects and contribute to their sustainability once construction is complete.”

Examples of new projects that will make a difference for people in northern B.C. include:

  • a plaza and entertainment centre that will double as a training and education facility for the District of Houston;
  • an industry and government consultation program for Witset First Nation to engage with proposed and ongoing projects on Wet’suwet’en Territory; and
  • a new collection of solar panels at the Smithers community radio station so emergency messaging can be broadcast during power outages.

“Witset First Nation is building a future deeply affected by major energy projects,” said Witset First Nation Chief Barry Nikal. “I thank the Northern Healthy Communities Fund for funding our consultation referrals initiative that will, for the first time, connect project proponents, governments and community members in a unified plan and vision for the future. The Industry and Lands Engagement Program will help ensure Witset First Nation exercises our Indigenous rights and takes a rightful place as equals on the forefront of B.C.’s valuable natural resource economy.”

Eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations that provide services and supports to people in growing communities near the Coastal Gaslink and LNG Canada projects can apply for project funding under the $25-million Northern Healthy Communities Fund. Since 2021, 33 projects have received funding totalling nearly $3.8 million.

“This funding has enabled our organization to purchase and operate the Plaza, a multi-purpose building in Houston,” said Marian Ells, manager at Houston Link to Learning. “In addition to operating the building’s fabulous entertainment options, we will also run the Plaza as a training and education centre where we will approach staffing Plaza businesses as training opportunities for youth, adults looking to re-enter the workforce and adults with disabilities.”

The program is accepting applications for the next round of funding with successful projects to be announced in summer 2022. New projects will be announced quarterly until 2026.   

Quick Facts:

  • Northern Healthy Communities’ funding is available through two streams:
    • capital projects that help upgrade, improve or expand facilities that assist those in communities delivering services; and
    • capacity-building projects that help increase capacity for existing services or develop and deliver new programs.
  • 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 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:

The full list of projects from the third intake is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NHCF_BG1.pdf

The full list of projects from the fourth intake is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NHCF_BG2.pdf

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

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