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Fixing up Northwood picnic site

District of Houston council briefs

A $29,550 grant from Canfor’s “Good Things Come From Trees” program could result in improvements to the Northwood Park picnic site, District of Houston staffers indicate.

Fixing a current cable barrier damaged when a tree fell on it, planting trees and shrubs and installing new picnic tables would increase the number of visitors the site could accommodate, increasing its recreational value to the community and to visitors, corporate services deputy Karen Hogstead outlined in a memo to council.

The site, five kilometres west of Houston adjacent to Hwy16, was initially established by Northwood Pulp & Timber, a company acquired by Canfor in a significant share purchase in 1999.

“Given the park’s historical association with Northwood and the potential for its restoration to benefit the entire community, we believe this to be a meaningful endeavour for both Canfor and the District of Houston alike,” Hogstead wrote.

Business front grant wanted

An application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust could provide up to $20,000 to the District of Houston to then help subsidize improvements to the exteriors of local businesses.

Facades, signs, murals, architectural features, siding, lighting and awning projects could all be in line for financial assistance.

“A business facade program can promote economic development and diversification by improving the visual appeal of commercial areas, attracting new business, and increasing property values,” a memo from corporate services deputy Karen Hogstead pointed out.

“This, in turn, can create jobs and foster a more vibrant and diverse local economy.”

Grants to businesses are meant to cover 50 per cent of a project’s cost to a maximum of $5,000 so if a project costs $10,000 the participating business could recover half of that amount.

Houston and District Chamber of Commerce manager Maureen Czirfusz has drafted the District’s application.

Canada Day 2024

The District of Houston is once again planning a Canada Day celebration for Monday, July 1, 2024 and hopes a federal grant will help cover costs.

A successful application would offset expenses for children’s activities and entertainment, equipment rental and administrative costs.

A grant this year from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage provided $3,840.

“Staff observed great success and a high level of public participation at the Canada Day 2023 event and hope to build on that success,” read a memo from corporate services deputy Karen Hogstead.

The same grant program applies to National Indigenous Peoples Day which is on June 21 next year and the Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre has submitted an application, reported District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar.

Chamber receives a shout out

Mayor Shane Brienen congratulated the Houston and District Chamber of Commerce for its ongong Houston Merchant Gift Certificate program.

Since 2010 it has gathered in $966,686.14 in sales and is on the verge of passing the $1 million mark before year’s end.

“That program has kept a million dollars in local businesses in this community and I think that’s a really great thing they’ve done,” said Brienen.

“I think it’s really impressive that they’ve managed to run that program and keep that amount of money in the community,” he said.

In 2022 alone, the gift certificate program brought in $93,390.

Mayor steps back from alliance

Mayor Shane Brienen has stepped away from his role as one of three elected co-chairs of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance.

He had been representing the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, one of three regional districts making up the alliance. It has 21 local government members in all.

Brienen is now the B.C. United candidate for the Nechako Lakes riding for next fall’s provincial election.

Given the alliance is directly negotiating with the provincial NDP government for a share of the region’s resource industry taxation, Brienen said it would not be appropriate for him to continue as a co-chair.

His replacement is Smithers mayor Gladys Atrill.

About the Author: Rod Link

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