An 'after' pictures of Deluxe Junk in Wells, B.C. The owner took advantage of the NDIT Business Façade Improvement program to bring the building’s exterior back to its 1930s glory.

An 'after' pictures of Deluxe Junk in Wells, B.C. The owner took advantage of the NDIT Business Façade Improvement program to bring the building’s exterior back to its 1930s glory.

Façade program good for business

Northern Development Initiative Trust grant helps business owners spruce up their buildings.

The Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) is once again offering their Business Façade Improvement program through the Village of Ashcroft. The program allows businesses to claim a 50 per cent reimbursement grant (up to a maximum of $5,000) for the renovation, restoration, or redesign of the façade of their commercial property located between the Thompson River and Railway Avenue and 1st and 8th Streets.

Ethan Anderson, the Village’s Deputy Corporate Officer, has been pushing the program for the last three years, but says that while there’s been “lots of chatter about it”, only one business has taken advantage of the grant.

Ashcroft Irly Bird used the NDIT funding to repaint the exterior of their business in 2014, and General Manager Willow Anderson says she thinks the program helped their business a good deal. “We have had people just stop in to tell us that it looks amazing! It has definitely updated the building look, and I think that it better fits in with our town.”

She says that it also helped them uncover issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed and caused major damage. “Our top storey windows were almost falling out, and some siding was starting to rot due to water leakage.” She adds that they hired a local painter to do the work. “It was nice to be able to give back to our community.”

DCO Anderson says that the entire cost of the project has to be a minimum of $1,500, and that among the eligible costs are such things as new exterior lighting; exterior architectural features; new siding; façade painting; awnings; and entrances, windows, and doorways that are part of a larger enhancement (no stand-alone replacements).

Signage is also eligible for grant funding, and Anderson says that’s a big one for the Village. “We want businesses to adhere to our heritage-themed guidelines.” He notes that signage for home-based businesses is a new initiative under the program.

He notes that the application is not too complicated, and that he can help businesses fill out the form and advise them about what supporting documents they need. “I want to work with them as much as possible.”

The Village has a total of $20,000 available under the program, and the funds are available as long as they remain. All work carried out under the program must be completed by November 20, 2016.

“It’s free money,” says Anderson. “If business owners want to do it, they should go for it.”

For more information about the NDIT Business Façade Improvement program, contact Anderson at (250) 453-9161, or by e-mail at admin@ashcroftbc.ca.

Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal