The Burns Lake Native Development Corporation (BLNDC) has received a provincial grant to boost economic recovery and residents’ livelihoods during COVID.
BLNDC had applied for the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program — Rural Economic Recovery stream in October 2020 to fund the construction of a new industrial mechanic shop and training space.
The province has approved BLNDC’s grant application and would be issuing the funding totaling $779,433.
“This funding is vital for BLNDC to continue expanding our forestry operations. In addition to providing a new maintenance space, the new training area will provide opportunities for our community’s youth, underemployed, and other groups who would otherwise face barriers to entering the forestry industry,” said Chantal Tom, General Manager of BLNDC.
BLNDC has plans to use this funding to develop and construct a new industrial shop where BLNDC employees will be able to perform repairs and maintenance services on their forestry equipment. In addition, Tom told Lakes District News that the new building will have a dedicated training area where community members can attend training for a variety of different employment opportunities.
“BLNDC is extremely grateful to have been successful in this funding opportunity. This new project will provide a much-needed economic boost to the community and will ultimately support Burns Lake’s First Nations community in accessing training opportunities,” she added.
“BLNDC has offered many training programs in the past and this gives the organization the opportunity to continue expanding the programs that we can offer to our community members.”
The grant is part of the province’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, under which $20 million will be distributed among 38 rural projects.
In the Nechako region, apart from BLNDC, Murray Ridge Ski Area in the District of Fort St. James will be receiving $605,360 that will go towards expansion for year-round tourism by resurfacing lift, rehabilitating t-bar and building two new mountain-bike trails.
“Our government is connecting communities with the resources they need to create jobs and new economic opportunities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“This has been a challenging year for British Columbians, and the remoteness of some rural communities can mean additional challenges. These grants will have a positive impact as communities manage through COVID-19 and beyond.”