Communities in the Bulkley Valley are getting a combined $37.5-million for much-needed infrastructure updates and planning.

The funds are part of the provinces $100-million Northern Capital Planning Grant.

Mayor of Smithers Taylor Bachrach said the funding has come just in time.

“All of our infrastructures were installed in the 60s and 70s, and it’s getting to that point where it’s going to need replacing and these funds are extremely necessary to help that whole process.”

The town of Smithers will be receiving just over $6.2-million dollars as one of nine communities receiving funding. Other community to benefit from the grant include:

* Bulkley-Nechako Regional District: $5,800,000
* Burns Lake: $3,439,000
* Fraser Lake: $2,607,000
* Fort St James: $3,342,000
* Granisle: $2,353,000
* Houston: $4,486,000
* Telkwa: $3,590,000
* Vanderhoof: $5,731,000

Given the size of many Northern communities, property tax revenue doesn’t always cover the cost of all infrastructure updates.

“This recognizes the role Northwest B.C. plays in the economy of the province. There has been a considerable amount of wealth generated from our region and communities need to be able to ensure our residents have a high quality of living and solid infrastructure.”

Bachrach added communities across Canada are moving to an asset management approach, ensure that they have funds set aside to maintain existing infrastructure and for future updates.