Local Communities Receive Funding for High Speed Wireless Access 

The Fort Fraser Ambulance Society and East Francois Lake Volunteer Fire/Rescue were both successful applicants receiving Last-Mile Project Community Networking Infrastructure Grants provided by the Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services.  Each organization was the recipient of $20 000.

These grants will be used to provide broadband wireless services in these areas.  This will have several benefits for the residents and businesses:

  • Wireless broadband access will allow emergency services to communicate via email and access the internet for the latest bulletins. 
  • Increased access and ability to participate in projects and economic development opportunities in the region.
  • Increased ease for local businesses (such as agriculture and resorts) to conduct business.
  • Increased ability for professionals to telecommute.
  • Increased possibilities for all levels of distance education in the area.
  • Increased interrelations between communities.

The areas of Fort Fraser, Nadleh Whut’en, Stellat’en and the north shore of Fraser Lake are underserved for data services. Dialup is the primary method of delivering internet access. Through Highway 16 Internet, Fort Fraser Elementary School via a wireless link to Vanderhoof demonstrates the viability of distributing broadband in the area. 

Coverage to the Fort Fraser, north shore of Fraser Lake and Willowdale areas will be provided by two radios operating from the Fraser Mountain tower. From Fraser Mountain a radio link will be directed to a tower at Francois Lake to provide service to the east end of Francois Lake.

Increasing the ease in which businesses can conduct their business is key. This will also provide significant assistance to local agricultural businesses.  As of April 1, 2007 cattle producers will be required to register the births of their cattle, the only way this can be done is online.  Therefore access to high speed internet would be very beneficial.

Canfor - Plateau Division $104 Million Rebuild

The massive $104 million rebuild/expansion at Canfor’s Plateau operation in BC will see the mill ramping up production to the super mill level—600 million board feet—and with a big consideration on how best to handle bug-killed wood.

The mill has traditionally been a large, highly successful sawmilling operation and Canfor’s investment will ensure it remains that way. Efficient utilization of available fibre is a catalyst for the project, but it will contribute other significant benefits.

The rebuilding process is designed to improve productivity in the mill. It will help it achieve recovery and value gains. The emphasis is on the operation being cost effective, a competitive necessity in the commodity lumber business.

The new-look Plateau will also have built-in flexibility. It will allow the mill to accommodate changes in fibre type as the diet of bug-killed wood eventually abates, matched with an ability to diversify lumber products. Right up there, too, in terms of benefits, is the rebuild project will maintain the mill’s employment base for the foreseeable future, excellent news for the economic security of the Vanderhoof region.

Plateau is focusing on replanting its forest lands as the dead pine are harvested. But there, too, the beetle wood throws a curve to conventional reforestation practices. The dead pine are creating wetter ground, placing additional considerations on the right types of seedlings to be planted site specifically. The company has had the foresight to aggressively collect pine seeds to ensure at least a 20-year supply.,It’s a further example of Canfor Plateau’s vision for the future.

Condensed from article by Jim Stirling

Two Community Futures Development Corporations win Minister’s Award for Excellence and Innovation

March 10, 2006

Vancouver, British Columbia: The Honourable Carol Skelton, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, is pleased to announce that the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) of Nadina and Stuart-Nechako are the recipients of the 2005 Minister’s Award for Excellence and Innovation for their joint British Columbia Northwest Broadband Initiative (BCNBI).
General Managers Jerry Botti and Keith Federink of the CFDCs of Nadina and Stuart-Nechako respectively accepted the award Thursday evening at the Community Futures Development Association’s (CFDA) Annual General Meeting gala presentation in Vancouver.

The BCNBI is bringing high-speed or broadband Internet access to communities in the Northwest that were previously unserved or underserved by broadband.  The initiative is improving the lives of Canadians in these communities by reducing geographic barriers and remoteness, and enhancing opportunities for economic development, telehealth and on-line learning.  

The Minister’s Award for Excellence and Innovation is given annually to a CFDC to recognize outstanding achievement in creating an innovative local solution to a local challenge, and to showcase the solution to the rest of British Columbia. Community Futures Development Corporations are part of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Western Canada Business Service Network.

"This is another excellent example of Community Futures taking a leadership role to enhance the capacity and economic development of rural B.C. communities," said CFDA Chair, Ken White. "We appreciate the confidence and the financial support of Western Economic Diversification Canada and Industry Canada in assisting Community Futures to carry out its mandate."

The CFDCs of Nadina and Stuart-Nechako championed this project on behalf of the BC Northwest Broadband Committee, which represents the high-speed connectivity interests of communities in proximity to Highway 16 from Vanderhoof to the Hazeltons.  Close to 44,560 Canadians in four district municipalities, one town, five villages and 15 First Nations communities live in this region.  More than 35,000 of these residents had no access to broadband.

Western Economic Diversification Canada invested in the first phase of BC Northwest Broadband Committee’s implementation strategy for high-speed Internet access.  Further financial support was provided by Industry Canada under the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) Pilot Program.

BRAND is a national program that is committed to bringing broadband service to rural, remote and Aboriginal communities.

Western Economic Diversification Canada is the federal department mandated to support economic diversification in communities across Western Canada, through activities that promote and assist Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Communities.

For additional information contact:

Jinny Wu, Communications Officer, Western Economic Diversification Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia
Tel: 604-666-2445

Jerry Botti
General Manager, CFDC of Nadina
Houston, B.C.
250-845-2522 or 1-800-556-5539

Keith Federink
General Manager, CFDC of Stuart-Nechako
Vanderhoof, B.C.
250-567-5219 or 1-800-266-0611