Dan Miller, minister responsible for northern development, and Paul Ramsey, minister responsible for the B.C./Alcan agreement, hailed the passage of the bill.
"The $15-million fund will support investment in new or existing businesses, create jobs or stabilize existing jobs, and support other goals consistent with its mandate for northwestern B.C.," said Miller.
"The fund is a component of the B.C./Alcan agreement signed last August that resolved all legal issues relating to the government's rejection of the Kemano Completion Project in order to protect the Nechako River and its fish stocks," said Ramsey.
"The agreement also provides power for a new aluminum smelter, increased production at the existing smelter, and the establishment of a new environmental enhancement fund," said Ramsey.
Skeena MLA Helmut Giesbrecht said the bill enables the government to share with Alcan in a total contribution of $15 million over three years-1998, 1999 and 2000-to the fund through a special account.
"This special account ensures that all contributions to the fund are recognized and interest earned is retained in the fund," said Giesbrecht.
In early January, the government and Alcan appointed an advisory board to make recommendations, after consulting with residents, on how the fund should be managed and administered.
"This board will make recommendations on the fund's management in terms of immediate priorities and long-range objectives," Miller said.
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Contact: Ben Pires, Communications Manager
Communications (250) 952-0611
The Government of B.C. and Alcan Inc. each contributed $7.5 million to establish the Northern Development Fund in 1999. The investment income generated from this fund supports the NKDF grants program. Each partner has one representative serving on the board of directors. The NKDF is part of the portfolio of the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.
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