Stronger services on the way for northern communities
Eleven new projects will provide increased housing, public safety and economic development opportunities for people living in northern B.C. communities experiencing rapid economic growth.
“Rapid development can be a good economic driver for people in northern communities, but it puts pressure on local governments, First Nations and community organizations for services to keep pace,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We are providing communities with more tools to harness growth opportunities sustainably, while ensuring people get the services they count on.”
New and expanded local services are being supported by a $2.4-million investment from the Northern Healthy Communities Fund (NHCF), which is supported by the B.C. government and administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).
Examples of new projects:
- an advertising and marketing campaign to attract workers and new business services to Kitimat;
- a program co-ordinator in the village of Telkwa to support emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities; and
- nine projects throughout Terrace to support community safety, land-use planning, increased housing and homelessness prevention.
“As communities throughout northern B.C. continue to experience the impacts of large-scale economic activities, this funding program provides valuable support to fit local needs,” said Joel McKay, chief executive officer, NDIT. “This intake allows organizations to hire skilled people to increase capacity and strategically navigate the effects of fast-paced development.”
The NHCF supports initiatives that assist healthy, sustainable and resilient communities facing rapid and large-scale economic development and associated need for enhanced social service readiness.
“The city is excited and would like to thank the Province and NDIT for their ongoing support in helping us respond to the needs of our community,” said Sean Bujtas, mayor, Terrace. “This funding will be going toward some needed areas, such as community safety officers, project overviews and consulting, and social services capacity support. Without this funding, we would not be able to move through local project developments as efficiently, nor respond to our downtown social issues.”
Since its beginning, the Northern Healthy Communities Fund has supported 65 projects with a total of more than $9.5 million. Eligible local governments, non-profit organizations and First Nations that serve communities near the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink projects can apply for project funding. The program is accepting applications for the next funding intakes. New projects will be announced until 2026.
“I’m so pleased that the Village of Telkwa is receiving support from the Northern Healthy Communities fund,” said Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine. “This funding will help ensure people have access to the services they need in their community as we continue to see economic growth in the North.”
- Northern Healthy Communities’ funding is available through two streams:
- projects that help community organizations increase capacity for existing services or develop and deliver new programs; and
- capital projects that help upgrade, improve or expand community service facilities.
- Since 2019, the B.C. government has also provided $150 million in grants through the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to help local governments with planning and infrastructure improvements.
The full list of projects from the eighth intake is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NHCF_Intake8.pdf
For information about the Northern Development Initiative Trust, visit: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca