This is our opportunity to express our thanks very publicly to numerous individuals and groups that have supported our Society throughout the past almost 11 years, all of whom have helped us reach the important milestone we are celebrating today.
We plan to recognize them in approximately the chronological order in which they helped us.
Our journey started with an invitation to the five Northern Secwepemc Bands from the 100 Mile House & District Historical Society to become partners in a display of First Nations history and culture on its site, and although our relationship faltered in recent years, we are grateful for the original initiative and look forward to a new era of cooperation with its new President, Ulrike Vogler and her Board.
When it became impractical to proceed on that site, we were fortunate to be able to assemble an alternate parcel nearby, thanks to the cooperation and generosity of Telus, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Cariboo Regional District.
Our heartfelt thanks go to:
TELUS, which donated almost half of the land we have assembled (represented by Lori Moshuk, Telus Real Estate Manager; Bert Braybrook, Telus General Manager for this Region; and Doug Parker, Telus Engineering Manager);
MOTI which, for a nominal amount, sold us another half of the land (represented here today by Todd Hubner, District Manager, Transportation; Terry Murphy, Cindy Katchmar and Alex Masun) and the Cariboo Regional District whose Area “G” Director and now Chair Al Richmond has been a staunch supporter and promoter of our project from the outset, and whose 108 Greenbelt Commission agreed to contribute a small but vital portion of its land to complete the parcel we plan to build on, and has under the chairmanship of Ron Soeder consistently supported the project.
We would also like to acknowledge the unwavering support we received from the outset from CRD chief administrative officer Janis Bell, CRD manager of communications Shelly Burich and not least of all CRD manager of community services Darron Campbell who represented the CRD in its negotiations with us over the lease agreement.
Our thanks go next to our five participating Bands, which have patiently supported our project by appointing a series of competent and dedicated representatives to be our Society members, and have between them contributed more than $125,000 to the project during the past ten years.
We would also like to thank those former Society members who made it possible for us to reach this important milestone along our journey. We paid our respects to them and named them in our March 2014 Newsletter.
In our initial efforts to raise money for the topographic survey, archaeological impact assessment, environmental impact assessment and feasibility study, we were greatly assisted by formal resolutions of support from the District of 100 Mile House and the City of Williams Lake as well as from the CRD. We would like to recognize Donna Barnett who was 100 Mile House Mayor at the time and Al Richmond, both of whom championed our original funding application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Donna’s and Al’s influence was instrumental in us obtaining funding from the NDIT which, with the support and encouragement of Community Futures in Williams Lake in turn leveraged substantial funding from the Government of Canada through its departments of Western Economic Diversification Canada and Canadian Heritage.
We recognize and thank Janine North, Executive Director of the Northern Trust, Larry Stranberg of Community Futures, and many representatives of the Federal Government for the extremely generous financial support they gave us.
Support by way of a grant at a crucial time came from the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition. Our thanks to current Chair Chad Mernett, manager David Majcher and Chief Ann Louie of the Williams Lake Indian Band who suggested approaching the Coalition in the first place.
We have also received ongoing support and encouragement from the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association and Aboriginal Tourism B.C. Our thanks go to Lianne Heales, Carl Gimse and the Board of the Chamber, to Amy Thacker of the CCCTA and to the staff of ATBC.
We next wish to acknowledge and thank the many consultants who have worked on our project during the past number of years. They are:
Nigel Hemingway of Cariboo Geographic Systems who, with almost unbelievable perseverance and patience, and with the exceptionally efficient support of Doerte Pavlik, acted as our agent in the long drawn-out process of assembling the land we are about to lease from the CRD;
Larry McCrea of Larry McCrea Law Corporation who, with the impeccable work of Jenni Guimond, conducted all the legal work related to the project;
Marie Marceau and Craig Duffield of McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. for their amazing ability to grasp and reflect our members’ aspirations in the wonderful schematic design we hope to bring to fruition within the next two or three years;
Suzanne Denbak of Cadence Strategies who was a part of the team that created our original feasibility study in 2009, and who helped put together our latest business plan which is soon to be considered by our five member Band Councils;
Jeffrey Newman of JN Web Design who constructed our website several years ago and who continues to do everything humanly possible to keep it fresh and up-to-date;
Eric Gunderson of North West Environmental who stickhandled our way through the environmental assessment process for the about-to-be-leased parcel of land;
Stephen Pellizari of Hub International Barton Insurance who, with his sound advice, has personally looked after our insurance needs since the beginning of the project;
Michele Kuyek of Heritage Signworks who is responsible both for the sign you will see unveiled in a short time as well as for the placard illustrating the conceptual building on which she collaborated with our architects; and
Chris Nickless, Ken Alexander, Carole Rooney and others of the 100 Mile Free Press who, over the past several years, have kept a watchful and encouraging eye on our project.
We also wish to acknowledge the work performed by Terra Archaeology, which carried out the archaeological impact assessment on the original site, and whose findings will assist us on the new one.
Last but not least, we have received ongoing support and encouragement from the CRD’s Heritage Steering Committee whose Chair is CRD Director Joan Sorley. Its members also include Phyllis Webstad who is a past President of our Society and Brent Rutherford who, along with Roy Christopher (former Chief at Canim Lake), Cheryl Chapman (former Society director from Soda Creek), and Irvine Johnson (former director of our Society from Esket) are currently Board members of the New Pathways to Gold Society.
To all those individuals and others too numerous to mention, we offer our sincere thanks for their contributions and support without which we could not possibly have reached this point on our long journey towards our eventual objective of constructing and operating a cultural centre and museum on the land on which we are now sitting.
- Graham Leslie
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