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Quesnel Council To Find Out How Much A First Nations Cultural Centre Will Cost

Quesnel City Council will spend some money to find out how much a First Nations Cultural Centre will cost.

The Lhtako Dene Nation is applying for a nine million dollar grant from the Invest Canada Infrastructure program, but a cost estimate is needed to complete the application.

Time is of the essence though, so Council will put up the $7,000 needed to do a quantity survey for the joint project, and then Lhtako Dene will reimburse Council its share later.

The First Nations Cultural Centre would be located at Ceal Tingley Park.

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Amy Reid is Quesnel’s Economic Development Officer…

“The Centre will provide a home for Lhtako Dene artifacts which are currently stored at UBC and will serve as a community gathering place. The Centre is a place for the whole community. The proposed concept includes potential theater space, gift shop, bistro, accessible washrooms and a space to display local art and larger pieces of significance such as a canoe.”

Reid noted that the location is significant because it was the site of a large Lhtako settlement and was also the site of first European contact with Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted that Quesnel is literally built on the bones of the Lhtako Dene people…

“They went from a population of about 15 thousand down to a couple of hundred post contact, so we have mass graves throughout our downtown core and other places around the city.”

The vote was unanimous but Councillor Ron Paull did raise some concerns over a possible theater component…

“With regard to the present ongoing discussion about a proposed theater coming under sub regional recreation. I guess I am a little worried that we’re going to end up with two theater, or maybe one little theater that’s going to preempt the theater that we’re looking for, so i’m wondering if there’s going to be discussions with the community to sort of find out where we want to go with theaters, because I honestly don’t think that we’ve got room in this community for two theaters.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted during the discussion that the theater component was for 200 to 250 seats and that it was not a theater along the lines of what Joint Planning is looking at.

Getting back to the project as a whole, Simpson says it fits in with the city’s riverfront development strategy.

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