Vanderhoof has received $10,000 from the province of British Columbia, to reinvigorate and diversify local economy.
“The District of Vanderhoof was granted $10,000 through the Rural Dividend program to conduct engineering and hydrotechnical assessments on a 3.5 hectare section of land at the Vanderhoof Airport that will be developed and leased for tee hangars,” said Dawn Makarowski, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
As part of the rural development mandate, the province is providing $673,124 in project development grants to support local communities throughout B.C., read a press release sent by the Ministry Jan.17. Under this program, a maximum of $10,000 per project, is awarded to eligible applicants to do preliminary work necessary to pursue larger community projects in the future.
A total of 68 local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations in B.C. have received funding under this program.
Meanwhile, this money will help build the Vanderhoof Airport to meet the needs of people in the community. “We see ourselves as the airport that will be able to meet the needs of industry in our area whether it is mining, exploration or forestry. So we have worked with that mindset in our decision making: how can we encourage investment into our airport and bring it here,”said Gerry Thiessen, mayor of the District of Vanderhoof.
The district applied for the program as they received interest from local businesses that are involved with the airport. Thiessen said he believes if they develop that section of land at the airport, it would meet the needs of the people who use the space.
In the meantime, “an engineering study will determine the surface and sub-surface preparation requirements for site excavation and fill, said Makarowski. Additionally, a hydrotechnical (ground water) assessment will determine the requirements for diverting standing water at the site, she said.
The city wanted to make sure the site is sustainable for the project, said Thiessen, adding that they now have an opportunity through this program to assess the cost of development and means to market it further.
“We feel that our airport has been a real jewel that we haven’t really developed. So with our decision making [we wanted] to understand how we can encourage more small businesses. And build that capacity so that people with small airplanes will see it as a viable place to call home, to store their airplanes and also for training.
Some of the criteria for receiving the funding under the program, as per the press release are: rural communities most in need; improved community resiliency and economic strength; partnership building and enhanced shared prosperity; project feasibility and sustainability; economic impact on rural communities; attracting and retaining youth; innovation in economic development.
“It takes a lot of hard work to develop ideas that can stimulate local prosperity and create jobs for small communities. Rural citizens are resourceful, and the calibre of these project development applications reflect their ingenuity and commitment to community development,”said Forests Minister Dough Donaldson.