The recently incorporated Tsi’yanne Buts’udilhti Friendship Centre Society (TBFCS) has made an application for a letter of support from the Village of Burns Lake (VBL) in their quest to fund a feasibility study for a proposed cultural centre in Burns Lake. ‘Tsi’yanne Buts’udilhti’ means ‘honouring all’ in Wet’suwet’en and Nadoo’ten.
Society director and project spokesperson, Deanna Nolan, in her letter requesting support, described the proposed centre as an opportunity to foster social development, the local economy, cultural exchanges, and family health.
The closest friendship centre to Burns Lake is the Houston Friendship Centre. Other centres are the Dze L K’Ant Friendship Centre in Smithers, and the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.
Although TBFCS would consider using a portion of the proposed facility for their work as a society, the Burns Lake proposal is for a facility with a larger mandate than that of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.
“We see the centre as operating somewhat differently than other friendship centres,” said Nolan. “We’re looking at other alternatives for funding, and at meeting the needs of a broader range of community interests.”
Although it is too early to talk about when the project could be break ground – the feasibility study wouldn’t be completed until next summer – the society has approached a local property owner regarding a potential location. Community engagement has already begun as well with local community groups, business leaders, and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C.
The village tabled Nolan’s request for a letter of support for a later meeting of council so that VBL staff had time to complete a report on the matter.
The initial feasibility work is estimated to cost $55,480, with funding requests to the Nechako Kitamaat Development Fund and Enterprising Non-Profits for the majority of the funds. The society is not asking the village for funding, but for a letter of support for the project.