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Prince George organizations get slice of $1.3 million to help with economic growth

B.C. is investing in northern communities to help with growth from pipeline projects in the north
Downtown Prince George skyline
A view of the downtown Prince George skyline.

To support people in communities near the Coastal Gaslink and LNG projects, 14 organizations in northern B.C. are receiving more than $1.3 million.

Eligible local governments, First Nations and non-profits are receiving money from the Northern Healthy Communities Fund which aims to provide support services to people in expanding communities near these major-resource projects.

The fund, which is administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust, is now supporting projects from its fifth and sixth intakes and since its beginning has supported 46 projects totaling more than $5 million in funding.

A number of projects based in Prince George are also receiving funding from this round of grant intakes.

Through the fifth intake, the Prince George Sexual Assault Centre Society received $79,500.00 to launch a comprehensive intersectional outreach program that would provide trauma-informed counselling services to the public.

The program would include trauma counselling, education, skill building as well as advocacy and support navigating additional services.

Through the fund’s sixth intake the Innovation Central Society, the Prince George Hospice and Palliative Care Society (PGHPCS) and Northern B.C. Tourism will all receive funding.

The Innovation Central Society will receive $68,706 to launch an English training program.

The program will be open to all incoming and recent arrivals to help them enter the workforce in Prince George and surrounding communities.

The training will help prepare them for employment, adding to the labour market in Prince George and surrounding areas.

The PGHPCS Society is getting $100,000 for its Hospice at Home program where staff can provide home hospice care to those who do not want to be in a hospital or hospice facility.

They will be looking to hire one additional full-time staff member to be available 24 hours per day or for virtual home visits.

Northern B.C. Tourism will be getting $99,750 for its tourism resiliency program. The project is designed to help tourism and hospitality businesses in communities affected by the significant impacts of the LNG Canada and coastal Gaslink projects.

A program advisor will work with businesses to provide them with the resources they need to be successful. They will employ expert program support for things like digital marketing, communication plans, and business development plans.

"Many organizations have been approved for funding to allow for increased capacity and services as they support their communities' changing needs during this time of rapid and large-scale economic development," said Joel McKay, chief executive officer, of Northern Development Initiative Trust.

"Having professionals and processes in place will increase the livability of communities for residents in all stages of life and increase their resiliency in the future."

Examples of new projects that will benefit people in the rest of the region include increasing capacity in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to help improve the health, social and economic outcomes of all residents in the region in a holistic, reconciliation-centred collaboration.

"Our regional district is grateful that this funding supports efforts to build meaningful relationships with local First Nations and explore collaboration on economic development and other initiatives," said Gerry Thiessen, board chair, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.

"This furthers the role of local government in the reconciliation process and aligns us with the Province's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Our First Nations liaison position supports our commitment to discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions' 94 Calls to Action and supports local First Nations in their advocacy for reconciliation efforts in the region."

The program is accepting applications for the next funding intakes. New projects will be announced until 2026.