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

On a journey with Forest Grove artist Neil Pinkett

Art by Neil Pinkett will be on display at Parkside Art Gallery from May 17 - June 15

South Green Lake VFD busy with live fire training, runaway grass fire and garage sale

SGLVFD busy with live fire training, runaway grass fire and May 19… Continue reading

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

The Magic of Q takes guests on an artistic journey

This little known gallery is just off of Highway 97 near Lac La Hache

New cadet leader commands the parade in 100 Mile House

Warrant Officer Mathew Wiebe takes the baton

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read