Fort St. James municipal office. (File photo)

Here is a look into the district’s economic development projects

The report was published in the April 8 regular public meeting agenda.

Council did not meet quorum for a scheduled April 8 regular public meeting, so that meeting was postponed.

David Schroeter, economic development officer for the district said that two councillors were unable to attend the Tuesday night meeting due to personal issues.

“It is true that because of this the meeting was postponed but all matters which would have been considered will be discussed at the next Regular Meeting of Council,” Schroeter stated in an April 16 statement to the Caledonia Courier.

Meanwhile, one agenda item that will be discussed in the next public meeting is the Economic Development Quarter 1 report.

The purpose of the report is to inform council of the actions and efforts of the Economic Development Department.

Here is some background taken from council documents dated April 8, 2020.

“The economic development department had a successful first quarter.”

The Fort St. James Bucks Initiative was finalized, announced and implemented, in order to provide funding to individuals impacted by the downturn in the forest economy.

The report further stated that the district has had success applying for several grants to undertake projects including — improving municipal infrastructure and increasing the municipalities staff capacity.

“Several workshops were held in January and February to support the development of non-profit and business capacity.”

But due to COVID-19, many grant opportunities have been delayed or suspended, the report states.

Even though council adopted a zoning bylaw and amendment bylaw this quarter, permitting secondary suites in Fort St. James, those policies will only be finalized once “capacity has returned to a regular level.”

Other than that, the economy of Fort St. James has experienced several disruptions including curtailment of Apollo Forest Products, reduction of operations at Mt. Milligan and closure or restrictions of several businesses in the community.

Seniors Housing Project Update

There is a seniors housing project in motion in Fort St. James. In January, David Schroeter and Brooke Eschuk, housing planner, were invited to present to a Nak’azdli Whut’en Community Meeting, where they discussed the preliminary project concept. However, since the presentation, “Nak’azdli has decided not to partner on the project and has ceased all communications with the Project Team,” states the report.

There is though one Dago Prince, a member of the Nak’azdli council who has chosen to remain on the project team as the only interested member of Nak’azdli, “and is welcome to continue to participate,” the district document states.

Currently, the project team is working with Connexus Community Resources and Terra Housing Consultants to apply for a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Seed Funding for the project.

The Caledonia Courier has reached out to David Schroeter, economic development officer of the district for more details around the project.

More to come.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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