Northern and Central BC’s forestry sector is thriving, according to Northern Development Initiative Trust’s newly appointed CEO.

Joel McKay says 97% of the trust’s $500,000 funding for 2016 is already supporting innovative technologies within the first eight months.

McKay says the funding’s will have the ability to create more jobs for the general public.

“Supporting research and innovation helps insure that our forest sector continues to be globally competitive. That means if your job is either directly or indirectly tied to forestry, you have more job security.”

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond says she hopes more specific forest resources will be implemented across the region.

“Encouraging research into innovative technologies and new uses for our forest-based resources helps our communities not only address mountain pine beetle damage, but will keep our forest industry competitive and sustainable.”

NDIT will fund another half-million in 2017 as part of their two-year commitment to 12 different projects in communities like Prince George and Smithers, but it’s unclear where the money will go.

“We’ll be going out and marketing the program, working with proponents, and trying to solicit more applications into the funding. We don’t know what’s out there yet; we’re always surprised by some of the neat and innovative projects that come our way, and you can be sure that we’ll be telling the public about them as they come along.”