B.C. Premier John Horgan was in Terrace Feb. 16 to announce $100 million grant for 22 municipalities, four regional districts in Northwest B.C. to fund infrastructure projects. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced $100 million grant for Northwest communities in Terrace on Feb. 16.

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to 22 municipalities and four regional districts including Fraser Fort George, Bulkley Nechako, Kitimat-Stikine and North Coast to address long-standing infrastructure needs that could not keep up with resource development.

The premier was joined by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen and mayors from municipalities including Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Vanderhoof.

“The message was abundantly clear, for too long the resources in the North have been feeding the people in the south and there has not been a rapid turnaround of benefits coming back to the region,” says Horgan inside Coast Mountain College’s trades building.

“They need services, and they need to ensure that their infrastructure is up to the task, not just for the new people, but for new investment and new industry.”

READ MORE: City of Terrace pushes for grant funding to start $10M bench access improvement project

The 22 municipalities will get $83.7 million, and the four districts the remaining $16.3 million.

Local governments with populations of more than 10,000 people will receive between $6 million and $9 million, municipalities with populations fewer than 10,000 will receive between $1 million and $6 million.

They can use the grant to meet immediate infrastructure needs, or save it for a future opportunity or leverage to secure other sources of funding. The need was raised through discussions with the province and Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance, a coalition consisting of 18 communities and three regional districts seeking revenue from future resource developments.

“Whether it’s mining or forestry or natural gas, the North has been the breadbasket for British Columbia for many, many decades,” Horgan says. “But for too long those resources were not staying in the community, they were going elsewhere. The result is aging infrastructure that doesn’t meet the needs of people nor the needs of the industry, and almost everywhere you look, there are opportunities for renewal.”

Cullen says to hear the premier acknowledge the inability of smaller northern communities to reap the benefits of resource development in the North is “huge.”

READ MORE: LNG Canada promises to buffer housing impacts

“This is shifting that dynamic,” Cullen says, speaking on the funding agreement between local, provincial and federal governments for grant opportunities.

He says smaller, northern communities are often stuck behind that funding formula, whereas larger municipalities like Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria have a tax base large enough to cover their one-third portion.

Several northern B.C. mayors shared the same sentiment.

“This is the largest grant the City of Terrace has ever received, and it represents one-third of our annual budget,” says Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc in a press release. “It gives us the chance to address some of the many outstanding projects we would like to tackle.”

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain says the province listened to concerns raised by northern municipalities with the financial injunction, which “will help all our communities begin to tackle those challenges as our region becomes a globally significant national trade corridor.”

The money was taken from last year’s provincial budget and will be included in the 2019 budget as the province finalizes it next week.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lacarya ladies golf report for July 10

Weather gods kindly provided a dry afternoon so 15 ladies could play at Lacarya Golf Course

NDP candidate wants to make communities more affordable

Gina Myhill-Jones also counts rich volunteer experience as an asset to her potential as a politician

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Wells Gray gets voice on provincial tourism council

TWG marketing manager Stephanie Molina recently appointed to Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read