The Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society will be charged with implementing recommendations made by the Northern Development Fund advisory board. As recommended by the board, the society will give priority to projects in the Nechako region and Kitamaat village area. A $5-million working fund will be set up immediately to support loan and grant programs, and $10 million will be invested to build a $15-million legacy fund.
"The fund is for the North, and it will be managed by people from the North," said Miller. "This is in response to the call for ‘made-in-the-North’ solutions to northern challenges — a call that government clearly heard at the October 1997 Premier’s Summit on Northern Jobs and Development.
"The board recommended local control over funding decisions, and we accept that recommendation. I encourage candidates who are interested in helping to develop their region’s economy to apply to be a member of the society."
"Creating this society marks another important step forward in the implementation of the BC-Alcan 1997 Agreement," added Paul Ramsey, the minister responsible for that agreement.
Candidates for the society can submit applications to Agencies, Boards and Commissions, Room 233 - 553 Superior St., Victoria, B.C., V8V 1X4, by April 30. Applicants must be from the Nechako and Kitamaat regions. They are required to have experience, leadership, knowledge, skills and training in small business, labour, economic development, local government, small-business financing or financial management. Members are expected to be chosen by summer and will begin working immediately.
"The advisory board will review all the applications and recommend candidates for my consideration," said Miller. "I will take their advice into account when I appoint members to the society."
The Northern Development Fund was established in 1997 as part of an agreement between the provincial government and Alcan to promote sustainable economic development in northwestern B.C. communities impacted by the Kitimat-Kemano Project and by the creation of the Nechako Reservior.
The B.C. government is committed to working with northerners to strengthen and sustain the northern economy. As part of northern development, the government has appointed a northern development commissioner, passed the B.C.-Alcan Northern Development Act to support northern economic development, invested $66 million in upgrading key northern roads, established the Oil and Gas Commission to strengthen the oil and gas industry in northeastern B.C., and unveiled a plan to strengthen B.C.’s mining industry, which is key to the northern economy.
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Contact: Debbie Parhar, Communications Coordinator
Communications - (250) 952-0525
The Government of B.C. and Alcan Inc. each contributed $7.5 million to establish the Northern Development Fund in 1999. The investment income generated from this fund supports the NKDF grants program. Each partner has one representative serving on the board of directors. The NKDF is part of the portfolio of the Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
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