Northern Trust Funds “Branding the Peace Program”

Dawson Creek, BC ? The Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern Trust) today announced funding approval of $255,000 to help deliver the ?Branding the Peace? Program. The successful program is a regional marketing initiative aimed at developing a marketing advantage for the Peace River Region of both British Columbia and Alberta. ?Branding the Peace? is a geographic brand that will help move communities and producers in the region towards economic and environmental sustainability.

The project began in 2004 and is led by the Branding the Peace Country Association (BPCA), a not-for-profit association with volunteer representation from both BC and Alberta. Membership is open to all Peace Country businesses producing a product or service, industry associations, governments and First Nations who support the initiative, meet the brand standards and intend to use the brand for market development. The group has five key objectives.

?Expand overall Peace Country economy by $250 million per year.

?Increase revenue and employment opportunities.

?Differentiate Peace Country products in the global marketplace.

?Enhance the environmental advantages of the Peace Country.

?Better position the Peace Country to attract $200 million in new equity investment.

Performance objectives for Branding the Peace include:

?By March 2007, 50% membership of the Association will be producers.

?By 2008, consumer surveys and retail requests will indicate a general recognition of the Peace Country logo and what it means.

?By 2009, the Peace Country logo will be visible on 50% of products and services.

?By 2009, 50% of all Peace Country retailers will be members.

?By 2009, membership will have grown to 600.

The Northern Trust funding will help secure Brand Management services for a three year period. The Trust will deliver its $255,000 commitment in three annual payments of $85,000. The total project cost for the Branding the Peace program for the next five year period is approximately $1.2 million. 21% of the funds will come from the Northern Trust, 23% from the Alberta Peace Region, 37% from membership and 19% from the federal government.

In making the announcement on behalf of the Northern Trust Board Chair Bruce Sutherland stated ?On behalf of the Northern Trust Board I?m pleased to announcement funding approval for the Branding the Peace program. This group has set some aggressive goals over the next three years including helping to expand and diversify the Peace Country economy by $250 million per year, increase equity investment into the Peace Country by $200 million and improve Peace Country competitiveness in the global marketplace.?

?The Northern Trust Board congratulates the volunteer Board of the Branding the Peace Country Association for setting the bar high with this project. It is a project that will deliver measurable benefits to the region and provide opportunities for the people. This is just the type of project proposal the Northern Trust Board hoped to receive when the Trust began operations last year.?

The Branding the Peace Program project was reviewed and recommended for approval to the Northern Trust Board by the Northeast Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). Northeast RAC Chair Mayor Evan Saugstad states ?residents of the Peace Country in both BC and Alberta have a long history of entrepreneurship and developing businesses and industry on a sustainable basis. We have a lot going for us in this region of Canada. The Branding the Peace Country Association was formed to help to tell the world about the region, its great people and the many products and services produced in the Peace Country. Funding from the Northern Trust will help the group deliver its three year program that includes some lofty but achievable goals. These efforts will help people and communities throughout the Peace Country in both provinces.?

Mayor Fred Jarvis of Taylor, BC is the President of Branding the Peace Country Association. Mayor Jarvis states ?our volunteer Board and members truly believe that the goals we have set for this three year project are achievable. People in the Peace Country have always dreamed big. It is part of the history and mystique of the region. However, people in the region are also known as being realistic and practical and we believe strongly that growing our economy by $250 million per year is achievable. We are also confident that through this branding program we can attract $200 million in new equity investment while improving Peace Country competitiveness in the global marketplace. Some may say these goals are not reasonable or achievable. On behalf of the entire Association, let me respond by saying how thankful we are that the Northern Trust believes in us and the Trust Board has given us a vote of confidence by approval these project funds. We won?t disappoint the Northern Trust or the people of this unique region of Canada. ?

The Northern Trust was established in October 2004 by the Province of BC through the Northern Development Initiative Trust Act. The Trust was set up to provide economic development opportunities for central and northern British Columbia. The Northern Trust area is comprised of four Regional Advisory Committees (RACs). Those include the Northeast, Prince George, Northwest and Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet RACs. A 13 member Board of Directors oversees the Northern Trust. The Board includes five regional business people and two representatives from each of the four RACs. An initial investment of $135 million was granted to the Northern Trust by the provincial government. Recently, the province added an additional $50 million to the Trust for a total base capital investment of $185 million.

For more information contact:

Janine Elo

Executive Director

Northern Trust

(250) 561-2525