Northwest B.C. communities are better positioned for growth and opportunity thanks in part to support from Asset Management Capacity Building Program grants, announced by Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, as he wrapped up his tour of the area today.
Grants totalling $1 million were made available to northwest communities in 2014 to help them update their bylaws and official community plans, as well as review and assess local infrastructure needs to prepare for economic growth. The initiative represents a partnership between the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Northern Development Initiative Trust, which administered the grants on behalf of the Province.
To date, $768,392 in asset management and land-use planning grants have been approved to support projects in Kitimat, Terrace, Port Edward, Prince Rupert, the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine and the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District. The grants are helping the communities thoroughly review their current infrastructure (water, sewer, drainage, local roads) and plan effectively for their future infrastructure needs.
In addition to the asset management grants program, the Community Land-Use Planning Program assists local governments in aligning their land use bylaws, policies and plans with the needs for industrial expansion while maintaining community health and quality of life for existing residents. This could include updating local official community plans or zoning bylaws, or conducting new studies for targeted areas like housing affordability.
To assist with community planning, five planning interns were also hired and mentored under this program and are working in local government offices to support key planning and capacity gaps.
In addition, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is working with local communities to identify provincial service needs and to provide cross-government resources to address readiness concerns.
These programs and projects are part of the provincial government’s commitment to help local governments in northwest British Columbia prepare for economic development and population growth, and align with Northern Development’s mandate to combine financial resources with advance planning to help northern B.C. thrive.
Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender –
“I have enjoyed touring the Northwest region and gaining a deeper understanding of what increased economic growth brings to the region. The development of important natural gas projects creates jobs, supports local businesses and will help sustain economic activity in these communities for generations to come. And our government will continue to support local governments as they prepare for future economic growth.”
Northern Development Initiative Trust chair Evan Saugstad –
“These grants have helped Northwest communities not only get ready for major investments but also improve their own planning capacity to the benefit of residents and existing businesses. These are smart investments that make our Northwest communities stronger for longer.”
City of Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc –
“The City of Terrace is using the Asset Management Capacity Building Program funding to complete a Water Master Plan. This information will help to guide our planning as we prepare for increased development and demand on our infrastructure over the coming years. Water supply is a fundamental service that the City provides to its residents. The information from the Water Master Plan will ensure we can manage this vital resource while responding to the needs of the community now and in the future. We’re grateful for the Province’s support to ensure this planning is in place.”
City of Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain –
“The City of Prince Rupert has been diligently working on identifying priority items within our current infrastructure deficit and to address it, we are launching an infrastructure renewal program called 'Rebuild Rupert'. This funding will enable us to continue to build an effective management strategy for infrastructure assets that will help to ensure that our local residents and businesses have the services they need to prosper and succeed.”
District of Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald –
“These are exciting times for Port Edward. We are looking forward to population growth and new opportunities linked to plans for a significant LNG development in the district. Strategic asset management will help with managing our public resources, improved risk management and financing to our residents – and better long-term planning.”
District of Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth –
“This grant is valuable contribution to our asset management program. Long-term sustainability of our infrastructure is critical and this will help as we continue to update and develop our plan to replace the equipment, buildings, roads and water and sewer infrastructure that serve our community.”
Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District chair Barry Pages –
“The SQCRD board is very grateful that, through the province’s Asset Management Capacity Building grant program, the regional district has been able to allocate $60,000 toward engaging with local consultants to prepare three alternative service level asset management plans for the regional district’s most valuable asset, the Regional Recycling Facility.”
Regional District of Kitimat Stikine chair Stacey Tyers –
“The social and economic success of communities is built upon its infrastructure. Asset management enables local government to develop and maintain its infrastructure maximizing financial sustainability and therefore offers great value for taxpayers.”
Check out the provincial government’s role in supporting communities, sport, arts and culture through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development: http://www.gov.bc.ca/cscd