Prince George is among the recipients of a new provincial government investment of $75 million for northern B.C.
The funds will be delivered through two programs and the investment is intended to support major resource development and build infrastructure.
The 2020 Northern Capital and Planning Grant will provide $50 million directly to local governments to help address infrastructure needs as they prepare for major resource economic development.
Another $25 million will be available to communities as they prepare for major economic development through the B.C. Northern Healthy Communities Fund, which will be administered through the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).
The fund will be available to local governments, First Nations and non-profits in the region to support local delivery of critical services, such as health and mental health care, housing and child care.
"The need to invest in northern B.C.'s infrastructure and community services is vital, and this funding has a new and significant role to play in contributing to our province's economic recovery, especially in light of COVID-19's impacts on B.C.'s people, communities and economy," said Carole James, Minister of Finance, in a news release.
This funding is in addition to $100 million provided through the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to communities in the northwest in 2019. It is part of ongoing dialogue between the Province and B.C.'s northwest and north-central communities on how to support the region over the longer term.
“City council extends its sincere thanks to the Province of B.C. for this investment in Prince George and northern municipalities. Our city, like most communities, faces the mounting challenge of financing the maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructure,” says Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall in the same release.
“This is now more challenging than ever as local governments experience the financial setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. About two dozen infrastructure projects have been earmarked for funding through this grant, including the upkeep of nature parks, the rehabilitation of our stormwater system, and the improvement of our sidewalks, walkways, trails and more. We look forward to using the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to keep improving our city for all of our residents.”
Municipalities with more than 8,000 people will receive between $5.2 million and $6.6 million, while municipalities with fewer than 8,000 people will receive between $300,000 and $3.7 million and Regional districts will receive between $400,000 and $1.6 million.
The B.C. Northern Healthy Communities Fund will be distributed by NDIT through an application process.