Northern Development Trust increases funding

Local governments can applying for improvement projects.

The Northern Development Initiative Trust has increased its grant funding to $2.5 million dollars for 2014, meaning, more money for economic development projects will be available than ever before.

Last year the Town of Smithers received quite a few NDI grants, for a variety of projects, including the new arena, Bovill Square and the downtown facade upgrade.

“Last year we were very fortunate to receive several NDI grants,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach said. “We will continue to apply for every opportunity we have. I think the trust has proven to be a really important funding source for community projects.”

Though no details have been released, it is expected that Smithers will receive another downtown facade grant to allow businesses to spruce up their storefronts.

However, the Town isn’t planning to apply for any large infrastructure grants this year.

Last year the Village of Telkwa received $170,000 from the NDI for the revitalization of their downtown core. This year, they have yet to decide which projects they will be applying for.

“We haven’t had that conversation yet,” Mayor Carman Graf said. “But we will be looking into it shortly.”

In February, the Trust’s board of directors unanimously supported a decision to increase the annual grant allocation from five to seven per cent of the capital base, meaning that a total of $11.4 million in grants will be available to local governments, First Nations and non-profits throughout the region in 2014.

“The increase in funding means more money will be flowing to community projects this year,” Bachrach said.

The Northern Development Initiative Trust was created with the proceeds from the sale of BC Rail in 2004.

As of February 18, 2014, NDI has provided $118 million in funding towards hundreds of projects in central and northern B.C. communities.