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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — The Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) has updated its guidelines on the business facade program after a lack of applicants from northern communities, including Dawson Creek. 

The Business Façade Improvement Program allows businesses to apply for grants that assist in improving their buildings’ physical appearance and character. 

On December 19th, Dawson Creek city council directed staff to apply for a grant of up to $20,000 for the 2023 Business Façade Improvement Program. Council also approved the changes to the program’s guidelines.

The changes include removing the overall restriction on the grant and keeping the annual grant maximum at $5,000 per building.

“The specificity associated with the signage projects will be removed, which supports permanent signage located on the property where signage affixed to the building may not make sense,” said the city’s corporate officer, Brenda Ginter, in a report to council.

“The updated BFI will allow standalone external accessibility improvements, which enables small, incremental improvements where accessibility projects may otherwise be cost prohibitive.”

Dawson Creek has run the program since 2014. However, the city said businesses had not been fully utilizing the available funds since 2020, when COVID-19-related improvements were made to the program.

Seeing these low numbers, NDIT made changes to the program in the hopes of improving the subscription rate by local businesses.

The city partners with Community Futures Peace Liard for the program. The city applies for funding through NDIT, and Community Futures administers the program.

Councillor Jerimy Earl spoke highly of the program and highlighted the influence it could have on Dawson Creek’s downtown core. 

“The fact it’s not more oversubscribed is a shame,” Earl said. 

The program allows for a maximum of $2,500 per project, with a maximum of $5,000 per year for each building. 

The 2023 program will take applications until September 1st, 2023, or until the funds have been used up.

For more information about the 2023 BFIP program, read the attached report below.

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Katherine Caddel is a recent graduate of Laurentian University's English Media and Rhetoric program. They grew up in Northern Ontario and recently decided to make the North Peace their new home. When not at work, Katherine enjoys horror movies, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons.