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Development trust announces new projects in northern B.C.

Development trust announces new projects in northern B.C.
PROVINCE OF B.C. — Houston, B.C. is one of several communities that will benefit from the latest project funding from the Northern Healthy Communities Fund.

HOUSTON, B.C. — B.C.’s Northern Development Initiative Trust plans to spend $905,000 in the third and fourth intakes of the trust on eight projects that reinforce social and emergency services in the northern B.C. region.

A release noted these services are especially needed in areas that are experiencing rapid economic growth. The money comes from the Northern Healthy Communities Fund.

The trust has approved funding for a variety of local governments, First Nations and non-profits. Trust officials added the projects will support communities now, during the construction phases of the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink projects and contribute to their sustainability once construction is complete.

Some of the projects include:

  • a plaza and entertainment centre that will double as a training and education facility for the District of Houston;
  • an industry and government consultation program for the Witset First Nation to engage with proposed and ongoing projects on Wet’suwet’en Territory; and
  • a new collection of solar panels at the Smithers community radio station so emergency messaging can be broadcast during power outages.

“Witset First Nation is building a future deeply affected by major energy projects,” said Witset First Nation Chief Barry Nikal in the release. “I thank the Northern Healthy Communities Fund for funding our consultation referrals initiative that will, for the first time, connect project proponents, governments and community members in a unified plan and vision for the future. The Industry and Lands Engagement Program will help ensure Witset First Nation exercises our Indigenous rights and takes a rightful place as equals on the forefront of B.C.’s valuable natural resource economy.”

Eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations that provide services and supports to people in growing communities near the Coastal Gaslink and LNG Canada projects can apply for project funding under the $25 million Northern Healthy Communities Fund. Since 2021, 33 projects have received funding totalling nearly $3.8 million.

The program is accepting applications for the next round of funding with successful projects to be announced in summer 2022. New projects will be announced quarterly until 2026.

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