Wet’suwet’en seek funding

Members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation are hoping funding will be approved in order to be move forward with an idea for a Palling community centre.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation are hoping funding will be approved in order to be move forward with an idea for a Palling community centre.

They have applied for two grants, submitting proposals to the Enabling Accessibility Fund through Human Resources Development Canada and the Community Halls and Recreations Facilities grant through the Northern Development Trust, however plans have now been scaled down from those originally submitted.

Wet’suwet’en Chief Karen Ogen said that because of the changed plans she is not too hopeful that the funding will be approved, but is optimistic that a strong case was made about the need for a community centre.

The original plans were for a $7 million community centre which included a large gymnasium, an industrial sized kitchen, office space for a heath centre and other Wet’suwet’en First Nation programs. Plans have since been scaled down to a more financially achievable goal.

“We are not too hopeful as we submitted a proposal without the required three construction quotes that were required to submit because we don’t have the downsized hall plans in order as of yet,” Chief Ogen said.

“We made a really strong case about the dire need our community has for a facility such as this, including, a health and wellness centre. If we are funded we will be able to begin looking at a more modest facility than the one for $7 million that had been designed by previous councils,” she added.

According to Chief Ogen, Wet’suwet’en First Nation has been fundraising, saving money and setting aside funds for quite a few years.

The Wet’suwet’en First Nation has approximately 240 members. “We have three communities [Palling, Noralee – the west end of Francois Lake and

Broman Lake which is 22 miles west of Burns Lake] however, the Palling community has the majority of our members living within it. We are in need of a community centre to hold our community functions such as bah’lats,” Chef Ogen added.

Wet’suwe’ten Coun. Carla Lewis said they are still waiting to hear if they have been successful with their applications. “We should hear back about the proposals early this fiscal year,” she said.

“This council is in leadership for two more years and that is one of the items that we want to accomplish for our community members,” Chief Ogen added.