District of 100 Mile House council endorsed a new funding opportunity at its Aug. 20 meeting that it will be encouraging local businesses to pursue.
Mayor Mitch Campsall said the municipality can apply for up to $20,000 being offered as an incentive to improve building facades.
“It’s a program through Northern Development Initiative Trust [NDIT], and we are one of the communities that would love to – and will – participate this year, if businesses within the community want to participate.”
This grant gives a “helping hand” to local businesses to improve the look of their building frontage, he added.
The matched-funding NDIT program allows individual businesses to apply through their local governments for up to $5,000 each for facade upgrades, providing they put in at least $5,000 of their own.
Campsall explained boosting the visual appeal of storefronts has shown good results elsewhere.
“It has worked in other communities, and we are just hoping that it also will work here. And, anytime you get improvements, it’s always a benefit to all … even if you get something beside you improved, it’s going to benefit you as well.”
At a $5,000 per business maximum ($10,000 in facade improvements each) four recipients might benefit, or potentially more, if the renovations incur lower costs.
South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce president Jennifer Appleby said the SCCC would “love” to work with the district on getting the grant program for the municipality.
“To me, it sounds like a fantastic idea. Especially if we can tie it in with the log building theme that’s already been started with the facades; the chamber would be behind that 100 per cent.”
Campsall said the local business group will be involved in finalizing the facade guidelines.
“We’ll get a basic [idea] for what we should do, and then we’ll have a look, and talk to the [SCCC executive] about it, and see how they feel about it. We will be bringing them in to participate with it.”
While the first step is developing the facade guidelines, the district must apply to NDIT’s November grant intake before businesses can apply.
Participating municipalities will then have another 12 months to oversee the facade construction and dole out the grant money.
For more information, or to express interest in the program, call the district office at 250-395-2434.