Business Walk

The District of Fort St James is excited to be participating in our first ever Business Walk! Business Walks are a business retention program that aims to survey as many businesses in the community as possible. The Walk will take place July 6th from 9:30 to 12:30 and will be coordinated through the District, the Chamber of Commerce and the Province of British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment for an interview please contact Emily Colombo, Economic Development Officer at edo@fortstjames.ca.

All information collected will go into a final report that will be available for all business owners and online. If follow up interviews are requested the District and Chamber will do their best to provide additional information and support.

We look forwards to chatting with as many businesses as we can and making this an annual event!

Fort St James Flyer Final

Community Foundation Growing The Community

The District of Fort St. James is happy to announce that the Fort St. James Community Foundation has recently reached a balance of $243,000. The District is excited to partner with the Foundation by having provided $25,000 in matching grants since 2013.

The community groups that have benefited from Community Foundation funding this year were:

  • Tl’azt’en Nation
  • Stuart Lake Golf Club,
  • Healthy Minds Peer Support
  • Fort St. James Music Makers
  • Stuart Lake Seniors
  • Stuart Lake Outreach Society

A total of $8,000 was granted to these organizations, funding an exciting boat building project, a community garden located behind the Fort St James District Office, supporting the food bank lunch program, purchasing new audio equipment for community use, providing medical transportation to seniors, and purchasing new equipment for the Golf Course Club House. Granting by the Community Foundation will continue to grow as more donations are made, contributing to their goal of $1,000,000 in investments by 2020.

Interest earned from the Foundation’s investments is then distributed to the community in the form of grants and scholarships, providing long-term, sustainable funding for Fort St. James.

Congratulations Fort St James Community Foundation! Please visit the Fort St James Community Foundation website for more information or to donate.

 

Community FOundation Board Directors 2014

(Photo of 2014 Community Foundation Board Directors, courtesy of Ruth Lloyd Photo and Writing)

Mayor and Council Tour Fort Green Energy Construction

On Friday May 22, Mayor Rob MacDougall and Councillors from the District of Fort St. James has the opportunity to tour the Fort Green Energy construction site.  At the site they were greeted by members of the Construction Team: Jon E. Lidwall (Iberdrola Construction Manager), Sherry Earles (Iberdrola Safety Officer), Antonia Salinas (Iberdrola Safety Manager), Muhammad Yahya (Dalkia Electrial Engineering Manager) and Derrick Statt (DWB Consulting, Environmental Manager).  Joining Fort St. James representatives were Mayor Gerry Thiessen from Vanderhoof and Partner Sheilke of Yekooche First Nation.

The visiting party were given the opportunity to learn about how the plant will operate, see current construction in progress, take photos and have various questions about construction answered.  As a result of the visit, a community notice board is being set-up on site which will contain information about community events, rental units, and opportunities that may be of interest to construction workers.

At present, there are 168 people working on site, with the potential for this number to increase to 225 – 250.  The project is an estimated 60% constructed.  At this point the project has a safety indicator rating of 2.1 and has only had 1 lost time incident during the course of construction thus far.  From 2015 to present the construction effort has provided over 95,000 man hours of employment.

Operations of the Fort Green Energy Project will commence in 2016, with some positions being posted for staffing in 2015.  Operational job postings will be searchable on the Careers page of Veolia’s North American website by searching All Jobs for British Columbia.

The project has signed to deliver energy to BC Hydro for 30 years.

Participants of the tour are identified in the photo below.

(From left): Councillor Kris Nielsen, Antonia Slainas, Councillor Dave Birdi, Derrick Statt, Mayor Rob MacDougall, Councillor Brenda Gouglas, Partner Sheilke, Emily Colombo, Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Kevin Crook

(From left): Councillor Kris Nielsen, Antonia Slainas, Councillor Dave Birdi, Derrick Statt, Mayor Rob MacDougall, Councillor Brenda Gouglas, Partner Sheilke, Emily Colombo, Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Kevin Crook

Fort St. James Signs Historic Protocol With Nak’azdli First Nation

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On Sept. 15, 2014 Mayor and Council signed a Protocol Agreement with the Nak’azdli First Nation, outlining mutual respect between communities, acknowledgement of Nak’azdli Traditional Territory, and a quarterly meeting schedule between the two local governments.  To celebrate the historic agreement, a Block Party event was held on Kwah Rd, a road which outlines the jurisdictional boundary between the municipality and First Nation.  The event included many local food tables, traditional games, music by Nak’azdli and Fort St. James performers, speeches from Chief Fred Sam and Mayor MacDougall, and 100 ‘wish lanterns’ sent off at 8p.m. to signify the positive hopes and desires residents have for the two communities.  As a whimsical addition to the event, magic show passing through town joined the block and brought with them some interesting lizards for the public to check out.  An estimated 300 – 400 attendees were present from the two communities.

 

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Find a full copy of the Protocol Agreement here.

(Exerted from the Agreement)

Whereas the Parties:

a. acknowledge that both communities are situated on Nak’azdli traditional territory and that with this acknowledgement comes respect for the land, people and unique histories of that territory; and

b. recognize that each council has unique responsibilities and authorities for their respective communities, within their respective areas of jurisdiction; and
c. recognize the need to collaborate on matters that impact the other, and that a collaborative relationship with each other must be founded on the fundamental principles of trust, honesty and mutual respect; and

d. wish to develop a shared vision that celebrates diversity, promotes healthy communities and supports the principles of sustainable development; and

e. wish to establish a strong government-to-government relationship for the purpose of sharing information, improving communications, and working together on joint initiatives.

NOW THEREFORE the Parties agree to:

a. Engage in co-operative action and invest in building the intergovernmental relationship at all levels (elected officials, administration, staff and citizens); and

b. Develop joint service agreements that are mutually beneficial; and

c. Recognize this Protocol as a living document that will be renewed regularly to reflect emerging priorities of the intergovernmental relationship; and

d. Implement this Protocol in the best efforts of each council and staff member of the respective Parties; and

e. Appoint representatives to participate on the Partnership Steering Committee—to meet quarterly; and

f. Engage in annual Council to Council meetings to develop the intergovernmental relationship and move forward on joint priorities. The first of such meetings will be held no later than June 30, 2014.

 

WinterFest & Caledonia Classic

Publication3February 28 – March 9, 2014

Inspired by the inclusivity of the Dog Mushing world, this year’s Caledonia Classic Sled Dog Races will fall into the dates of a larger winter festival featuring a week of events and activities throughout the town of Fort St. James that support arts, culture, tradition and recreation.

The District of Fort St. James has initiated an expansion of this existing recreational heritage event by collaborating with community groups to co-host WINTERFEST!

We are so fortunate to have National Snow & Ice Competitive Carver, and owner of ‘Cool As Ice’ sculpting business in Nanaimo, visiting Fort St. James March 1-3 to demonstrate his skills!  Grant will be completing one large 128 cubic foot block in addition to guiding local participants on the carving of two more smaller blocks on Saturday March 1st during the races.  The pieces will be representational of the communities of Fort St. James and Nak’azdli.  This date will also feature sleigh rides and a ‘Sugar Shack’ with local birch syrup snow sticks sponsored by Integris Credit Union; hot mulled wine and apple cider by Music on the Mountain Society and Ice Fishing by The KEY!

A whopping 60 to 80 volunteers come out each year for the Caledonia Classic Races, including students from the neighbouring UNBC tourism department. The weekend includes:  150 mile race; 4, 6 and 10 dog race; Junior Musher and Kid ‘n’ Mutt race; Politicians Race; 50 mile 7-dog race with overnight at whitefish bay; and this year for the first time ever they are going to have a 200 mile race the following weekend.

WINTERFEST doesn’t end there though.  Community groups will be hosting various activities throughout the week including family dance, theatre, film, live music, skating, skiing and games!  All events are supporting local non-profit organizations including Nak’azdli Youth, Health & Recreation Groups, Murray Ridge Ski Area, Fort St. James Nordic Ski Group, Music on the Mountain Society, Senior Girls Basketball, Fort St. James Speed Skating, Music Makers Theatre Group, Sled Dog Association, and Volunteer FSJ.

Please visit https://fortstjames.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=19400 for the Schedule of Events and call 996-8233 today to get involved or sponsor the festival!

Fort St. James Celebrates Local Businesses by Rolling out The Red Carpet

town logos pilot project2Fort St. James is “Rolling out the Red Carpet” for its local business owners, by hosting a Small Town Love launch party at the North Arm Pub this Friday, Nov. 22 from 7-9p.m.  The party is open to the public and will include a snack table as well as prizes, giveaways and games for attendees.

Small Town Love is a buy-local campaign piloted this fall by Northern Development Initiative Trust in six communities, of which Fort St. James is one.  The project has resulted in a local website which initially highlights thirty-one local businesses  and can be viewed at www.lovefortstjames.com. The objective of the project is to deliver a unique marketing campaign that celebrates locally-owned independent businesses with an aim to strengthen their competitiveness and keep more dollars in the local economy

“Small Town Love has helped the business community in Fort St. James collaborate in a new and innovative way that celebrates the many amazing locally-owned businesses that call this historic community home,” said District of Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall.

The Small Town Love project falls on the heels of the District’s awarding of the 2013 Open for Business Awards presented by BC Small Business Roundtable.  The Open for Business Award includes a $10,000 cash prize for the community which will be used to help implement small business initiatives such as a Business Retention and Expansion program with the District’s Economic Development department, and the hiring of a “Business Development and Tourism Assistant” position to be shared  with the Fort St. James Chamber of Commerce.  More information on the Open for Business Award can be found here.

 

LOVE Fort St. James!

town logos pilot project2Local businesses in Fort St. James will receive an extra boost in the coming months as part of a “Love Fort St. James” buy local campaign piloted by Northern Development Initiative Trust.  The project will celebrate home grown businesses and their contributions to the local economy, while encouraging citizens to consider the wide variety of products available in town. The program will also help celebrate the personal connections which take place between consumers and business owners when they support independent businesses.

The Northern Development-led pilot program supports the development of strongly branded buy-local campaigns for six communities including Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Logan Lake, 100 Mile House and Valemount.  Each community will have their own website that will promote local businesses through high-end photography.  A website to support Fort St James’ involvement will be located at www.lovefortstjames.com in the coming days.

To fund the website development and graphic design of the project, Northern Development’s board of directors approved $75,000 to include all six pilot communities. To execute the project, Northern Development will contract the services of Amy Quarry, who launched a similar project in Quesnel that engaged more than 50 local businesses.  Quarry will provide the branding materials for the Love Fort St. James initiative, and will work with the District’s Economic Development Department to engage local business owners in the project and coordinate professional photographs of each business involved in the campaign.

“The Small Town Love project is a great opportunity for local businesses in Fort St. James to collaborate and promote what products and services are locally available to the community,”, said Mayor Rob MacDougall. “We’re very excited as this helps us to build a critical awareness for community members, business and industry to highlight the benefits of shopping locally, in turn helping to strengthen the resilience of our local economy.”

Businesses and community members interested in learning more about the Love Fort St. James campaign should contact Emily Colombo, Economic Development Officer for the District of Fort St. James at 250-996-8233 or by emailing edo@fortstjames.ca.

Master Trails Plan

The District of Fort St. James has retained a qualified consultant to prepare a comprehensive Trails Master Plan that supports active modes of transportation.  Important goals of the plan are to foster the usage of active transportation while providing for population and industry growth, the development of a high quality of life for residents, and to assist with municipal efforts to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions.

The primary objective of the Trails Master Plan is to provide set municipal development goals and actions for connected active transportation and to support sustainable economic and community development through trails and transportation planning.  Included in the Trails Master Plan will be a map (both hard copy and electronic) which will highlight local and regional trails in our area.  Some limited trails signage will be implemented as a component of this project.

We anticipate completion of the master plan by late September 2013.

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IMPROVEMENTS TO EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE

 As a result of funding from the federal government, the District of Fort St. James has been able to further protect the safety and health of its citizens during emergencies and disasters.  For more information visit https://fortstjames.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=15816

Community Revitalization Tax Exemption

The District of Fort St. James Mayor & Council recently approved a tax exemption program for commercial and light industrial infrastructure improvements.  This program follows close on the heels of the successful “Industrial Tax Exemption” program which saw $30 Million in upgrades completed at a local sawmill.

Under the newly extended program, commercial and light industrial properties which implement property upgrades that result in increased property value assessments, will be exempt from paying increased municipal property taxes for a period of time following the upgrade.  Details on the bylaw can be found here. 

An additional program offered by Northern Development Initiative Trust can help property owners to leverage the tax exemptions into up-front loans which can be used for the upgrade itself.  Proponents interested in taking advantage of this additional opportunity are encouraged to contact Northern Development Initiative Trust at 250-561-2525 and the District’s Economic Development Officer, Emily Colombo at 250-996-8233, edo@fortstjames.ca