The Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society (NSCS) is closer to turning its concept of a museum and cultural centre at 108 Mile Ranch into a reality, and it has added a new twist.
NCSC secretary Graham Leslie says when it came to the attention of the society members that off-road vehicles (ORV) were fording Sucker Creek and potentially damaging the creek bed, spawning grounds and riparian areas, they decided to take preventative measures.
The idea is to modify a planned pedestrian bridge by enlarging it to accommodate ORV traffic from the 108 Heritage Site parking lot to the cultural centre site and 108 Greenbelt, he explains.
“[It] is really our society’s effort to do a bit of a community [work] by modifying the design to allow ATVs and snowmobiles to use it as well.”
Leslie adds NSCS is now seeking financial help from the business community to help the “community at large” by protecting the creek.
“The intention is to prevent further damage to the creek. If we just leave it, the ATVs will continue to ford the stream.”
The goal is to raise the maximum of $10,000 that can be potentially matched by a Business for the Arts (Association) grant, so the bridge project can encompass some fencing to guide ORV traffic away from the creek and onto the bridge, he says.
“We’ve raised about $3,000 so far … we’re getting some very generous contributions, both from here, but also from Williams Lake.”
The NSCS includes five South and Central Cariboo First Nations communities, including Canim Lake, Canoe Creek, Williams Lake, Soda Creek and Esket’emc bands.
During the decade the project proposal for a 3,000-square-foot Northern Secwepemc Cultural Centre has been in process, the group successfully obtained more than $365,000 in grants for the feasibility, planning and design phases of the project. It hasn’t yet raised the estimated $3.6 million necessary to build the cultural centre, but is preparing land-use agreements required to submit major capital grant applications.
The 108 Greenbelt Commission, which manages the Cariboo Regional District’s Greenbelt lands in that community, and the CRD, which both previously endorsed the museum proposal, have approved in concept NSCS’ ORV-accessible bridge idea, Leslie notes.
He adds the society is also working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure while designs and the funding potential are narrowed down.
“Our society hasn’t taken a position on it yet – this is just my hope at the moment – which is, if we can generate enough money to build a bridge … we’ll go ahead and build the bridge well in advance of construction.
“So, it will be a sort of a community-funded contribution to the community.”
More project information can be found online at www.nsculturalsociety.ca.
While the society is initially approaching only businesses to request donations, contributions to the bridge project can be made by calling Leslie at 250-791-7267, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.