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District applying for two grants

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The District of Houston is applying for two grants to support the work of the District in performing its duties.

The first is to the Northern Development Initiative Trust for $8,000 to help subsidize the grant-writing portion of the deputy corporate services director’s position.

“Each year, $8,000 in rebate funding is provided to approved local governments to support the employment of a locally-based grant writer to prepare funding applications to agencies, foundations and government programs,” reads information presented to council.

One-third of the deputy corporate services director’s time has been allotted to searching for applicable grants and then writing proposals.

Grant writing, particularly for senior government programs, is increasingly being considered a vital part of the money needed for smaller local governments to provide infrastructure they could not raise through taxation.

The service is also open to non-profit groups within the community.

A second grant application is also going to the Northern Development Initiative Trust for up to $50,000 to bring in a recent graduate as a local government intern.

“The intern would be given the opportunity to rotate through departments where feasible for a range of work experience,” a memo to council indicated.

This program has been in place for years throughout the north, producing a stream of people with the combination of post secondary education and practical experience for positions within northern local governments.

In Houston, current chief administrative officer Michael Dewar was an intern as was his predecessor, Gerald Pinchbeck.

Host local governments must contribute $10,000 towards the salary of the intern over the 12-month length of the program as well as cover payroll costs such as the Canada Pension Plan deductions and employment insurance premiums.

A housing allowance is included in the money that would be provided by the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Ski club gets letter

Council is writing a letter to support the Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club’s bid for a senior government grant to help finance improvements to its trail network and repairs following damage caused by the Peacock Creek fire.

“Shaping, drainage and surfacing will be conducted on the trails. Structures include boardwalk, a viewing platform, upgrading to solar lights and a deck cover,” explained club president Greg Yeomans of the work planned.

In a letter to council, Yeomans said the 6,000 hectare Morice Mountain recreation area, complete with 100 kilometres of trails and routes, “is a gem with so much potential.”

He said the area contributes to the economic diversification of the area and, with successful grants, will provide work now that the Canfor mill has closed.

“The Peacock wildfire also impacted our trail system significantly. Old Pines trail, for example, was badly in need of an upgrade, but now [has a] boardwalk and viewing platforms burnt.”

Nature centre receives support

Council is also supply a letter of support to the A Rocha Canada Buck Creek Canfor Hatchery and Nature Centre’s bid for a $400,000 grant over two years from the provincial Rural Economic Diversification - Forest Impact Transition program.

“As Houston experiences a mini-boom during reconstruction of the [Canfor] mill, upscaling our project offers better outdoor learning and gathering spaces that support the mental and physical well-being of families, making our town an attractive place to stay once the rebuild is finished,” said A Rocha northern B.C. project coordinator Cindy Verbeek in requesting the letter.

She said project plans include more promotion and advertising to increase tourism traffic to Houston as well as hiring local contractors to improve the backyard exhibit space by adding a demonstration rain garden, pollinator garden, fireside, gathering space, salmon lifecycle play structures and a wheelchair accessible walking trail.