The North Cariboo Joint Committee listens to a presentation on July 10, 2017. Heather Norman photo

City council allocates remainder of Cariboo Strong funds

Funds going toward a First Nations Cultural Centre and forestry initiatives, among others

The North Cariboo Joint Committee passed a motion directing the remains of the northern Cariboo Strong funds to a variety of projects, including $10,000 to the development of a concept and design to recognize the site where five Tsilhqot’in chiefs were wrongfully hanged.

There will be $20,000 directed toward the development of design drawings for a First Nations Cultural Centre, $13,000 to carry forward the work of the Forestry Think Tank, $5,000 directed to create a plan to reconfigure the sani-loop, and the remaining funds will go toward the 2019 Snow-ball tournament.

The economic development officer who presented the report to council, Amy Reid, says these projects were chosen because they “fit in with council’s strategic plan and with their economic development goals of diversifying the local economy.”

The five Tsilqot’in chiefs who were wrongfully hanged on the banks of the Fraser, near what is now the G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital, were exonerated earlier this year, along with a sixth chief who was not hung in the same location, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Trudeau formally exonerates Tsilhqot’in war chiefs

Nothing currently marks the spot of the hanging, other than one of the riverfront trail interpretive signs. With the Cariboo Strong funding and consultation with the Tsilhqot’in National Government, the project will attempt to come up with something that will provide the chiefs with appropriate recognition.

“It’s something missing in our community,” says Reid. “And it deserves better recognition.”

The First Nations Cultural Centre project will include defining what both the City of Quesnel and the Lhtako Dene Nation want from the centre, developing a program for the use of the space, operations and staffing, as well as coming up with a conceptual design plan and 3D sketches.

Reid says the cultural centre will attract more visitors to the community and allow for the local First Nations to share their culture.

The Forestry Think Tank met in May to discuss opportunities for the forestry industry. It brought policy makers from local, provincial and First Nation Governments, as well as industry experts, funding agencies and researchers to the College of New Caledonia campus.

The think tank followed the wildfires and the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and came at a time when there was a need to think about transitioning Quesnel’s economic focus, as a forest-dependent community. Reid says this money will go toward continuing to diversify and innovate within the local forestry industry.

READ MORE: Quesnel Think Tank calls for ‘forest resiliency’ to keep sector viable

Funds directed to the sani-loop will go toward the consideration of a new way to lay out the loop with access to the riverfront trail system and downtown, adding an additional water station, or even moving the location of the sani-dump and water station altogether. The sani-loop changes are also intended to attract more visitors to Quesnel, adds Reid.

Finally, the rest of the Cariboo Strong funds were allocated to the Snow-ball tournament, to be held in conjunction with the Winter Carnival.

The goal is to allow for an even larger event to take place in 2019. With the Snow-ball tournament, the city hopes to build on the successes of past Winter Carnivals, and continue to attract more visitors to Quesnel.

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