People in the North are set to benefit from new provincial funding for local governments to help address long-standing infrastructure needs and support planning for future opportunities.
The Province recently approved the $100-million Northern Capital and Planning Grant, which provides funding for infrastructure and long-term planning to four regional districts (Fraser-Fort George, Bulkley-Nechako, Kitimat-Stikine and North Coast) and their 22 participating municipalities.
“We’ve been hearing from local governments in northern B.C. about the challenges they face funding much-needed upgrades to their aging infrastructure, and I know this new grant will help close the gap,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “With this funding, communities can start moving forward on the initiatives they need to seize opportunities now and down the road.”
Local governments may use the grant to meet an immediate infrastructure need for their community, save it for a future opportunity, or leverage it to secure other sources of funding, including borrowing, reserves and other grant programs, to cover major infrastructure and long-term planning initiatives.
The release of funds to local governments follows the announcement of the Northern Capital and Planning Grant by Premier John Horgan and Robinson on Feb. 16, 2019.
The Northern Capital and Planning Grant is part of the Province’s commitment to northwest mayors to make sure local workers and communities can reap the full benefits of resource development in their region.
Art Kaehn, chair of the Fraser-Fort George Regional District –
“The funding from the Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go a long way in helping us maintain and improve the infrastructure we have, enhancing the livability of our rural communities within the Fraser-Fort George region.”
Bev Playfair, mayor of Fort St. James, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District –
“This grant will make a huge difference to the District of Fort St. James in meeting our infrastructure challenges. We are very appreciative of the Province providing this funding.”
Carol Leclerc, mayor of Terrace, Kitimat-Stikine Regional District –
“The City of Terrace wishes to express its gratitude to the Province of British Columbia and, specifically, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, for the timely and much-needed Northern Capital and Planning Grant. In partnership with our neighbouring local governments, our city council has been working hard to advocate for revenue-sharing and additional supports for our pressing infrastructure needs. This grant offers us the flexibility to direct one-time funds into priority community projects so that we are better positioned to accommodate an influx of new residents, workers and businesses.”
Delores Funk, mayor of Burns Lake, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District –
“The Village of Burns Lake is very grateful to the Province for providing us with the Northern Capital and Infrastructure Grant funding. This injection into our budget will provide an excellent start to addressing the infrastructure deficit in our community and improving the quality of life in the North.”
Gene Runtz, mayor of McBride, Fraser-Fort George Regional District –
“We will use these funds for future infrastructure needs to ensure the village can deliver sustainable services. These funds will promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of our community and contribute to its quality of life. Thank you for your confidence in the future of northern communities.”
Gerry Thiessen, chair of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District –
“The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is thankful that the Province of B.C. heard the concerns of regional districts and communities about a need to address infrastructure deficits. This grant will go a long way in addressing some of our concerns that our infrastructure assets are in need of attention.”
Gina McKay, mayor of Stewart, Kitimat-Stikine Regional District –
“The District of Stewart is thankful to receive these funds to assist in dealing with the resource-based growth in our community. We will be able to use these funds to cope with the demand on infrastructure and other services that come with being the host community for industrial growth.”
Joan Atkinson, mayor of Mackenzie, Fraser-Fort George Regional District –
“The District of Mackenzie is very appreciative to the Province for the Northern Capital and Planning Grant. This funding will accelerate the district’s efforts to implement our asset management plan and address our aging infrastructure, while minimizing the impact to our reserves and the taxpayers in our community.”
Kris Olsen, mayor of the Village of Queen Charlotte, North Coast Regional District –
“On behalf of the Village of Queen Charlotte ‘Daajing Giids,’ Haawa and thank you for your investment into our community and the northwest.”
Lee Brain, mayor of Prince Rupert, North Coast Regional District –
“It’s great to see this financial commitment from the Province to the northwest. Investing in infrastructure is what will help us make this a more livable place for the residents who live here now, and for the people we want to attract as Prince Rupert continues to grow as a trade gateway.”
Linda McGuire, mayor of Granisle, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District –
“Our small community is extremely excited with this announcement. We are looking forward to the next step of planning, identifying and prioritizing the many projects and upgrades for our community in the coming weeks.”
Owen Torgerson, mayor of Valemount, Fraser-Fort George Regional District –
“I would like to thank the Province for acknowledging the importance of northern B.C. communities through this funding announcement. The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will create an opportunity for the Village of Valemount to address infrastructure needs that are specifically unique to our community. We appreciate the approach taken by the provincial government; this funding program allows us the flexibility to address specific capital projects that may be of immediate importance, or to utilize funding for long-term infrastructure planning.”
Sarrah Storey, mayor of Fraser Lake, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District –
“On behalf of the Village of Fraser Lake, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Province for this funding. The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will improve our community’s capacity to address the infrastructure deficits that are impacting our community.”
- The LNG Canada facility is expected to bring an influx of people into the region. The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will help local governments improve infrastructure and services for the new and existing population.
- The 22 municipalities received a total of $83.7 million and the four regional districts received $16.3 million.
- Small communities received a larger proportional share of the grant to compensate for their reduced commercial and industrial tax base.
A backgrounder follows.