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Support services strengthened in B.C.’s northern communities

May 12, 2023 at 10:31 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People in northern communities experiencing rapid economic growth will benefit from strengthened supports that harness community and culture, improve health and safety and increase local service capacity.

“Local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations provide critical services that people rely on, and we need to ensure they have the capacity to adapt and grow along with the communities they serve,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We’re investing in the long-term resilience of northern communities so they can meet the challenge and embrace the opportunities of major economic development.”

Ten projects are being supported by a $2.4-million investment through the Northern Healthy Communities Fund (NHCF). These include:

  • a new Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Houston;
  • the expansion of the Clearview Landfill near Fort St. James; and
  • a Chronic Pain Network that will provide patient education in self-management as part of a larger program for chronic pain intervention for people in northern communities.

“Through investments in communities that are being impacted by rapid economic development, the NHCF is supporting people as they adjust to increased activity in the region,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Through the capacity-building stream, organizations are able to hire qualified professionals to address the unique needs their community faces in a personable and effective way. Northern Development is pleased to administer this fund on behalf of the Province of B.C. to benefit the people and organizations who call northern B.C. home.”

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.

“We are thankful for this funding support to replace the aging facility in Houston with a brand-new, purpose-built friendship centre,” said Annette Morgan, executive director, Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society. “The centre will better accommodate our critical programming needs, ensuring we can continue to expand our services and provide culturally relevant programs that are inclusive to all in the community.”

Since its beginning, the NHCF has supported 75 projects with a total of more than $11.9 million. Eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations in growing 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 quarterly until 2026.

Quick Facts:

  • Northern Healthy Communities Fund support is available through two streams:
    • capacity-building 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 facilities that help those in communities delivering service.
  • Northern B.C. communities have also received support through the $1-billion Growing Communities Fund, which was provided to all 188 B.C. municipalities and regional districts to help address their unique infrastructure and amenities needs.

Learn More:

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

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

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