Friday, October 22, 2021
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Future Indigenous Cultural Centre to be part of 2021 Lethbridge CIP

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Lethbridge City Council has decided to move discussion about a future Indigenous Cultural Centre to next year’s budget deliberations.

The final report on the proposed facility was brought to Council on Monday (Feb. 10). Councillors voted to move the proposed project into Capital Improvement Program (CIP) deliberations next year.

The City’s Indigenous Relations Advisor, Perry Stein says building a centre like this is important for a number of reasons. “This has been Blackfoot territory for thousands of years. Lethbridge is also home to an urban Indigenous community of upwards of 10,000 people. There are several hundred Indigenous students who go to school here every day. There are hundreds of people who flow between Lethbridge and Standoff and/or Brocket for work every day. Lethbridge is an Indigenous community”.

Stein says an Indigenous Cultural Centre could cost anywhere from $5 million to $20 million all depending on the scope of the project.

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He stresses this would not be just for Indigenous peoples, it would be to build bridges as part of reconciliation.

“This is not a cultural centre for a specific demographic of people,” says Stein. “This is a cultural centre for 100,000 plus people in the city, but also in the region. There are very few Indigenous cultural centres anywhere in Canada and even fewer in Alberta. This in an opportunity to create linkages between the city and places like Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Writing-On-Stone, and Blackfoot Crossing”.

The feasibility study and final report presented to Council Monday indicates 6,600 square feet is estimated to be needed as the minimum, possibly expanding to 19,000 sq. ft and eventually growing to 26,000 sq. ft in the future if needed.

As for a location, the report says a site would have to reflect a connection to nature, views of the River Valley, a space for ceremony and gathering, and be an accessible spot.

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Stein says coming up with a proper governance model for a facility like this is very important. The report points to either city-owned, Indigenous-owned, or a hybrid model that includes both.

Stein though says those are all things which can be worked on with stakeholders so that when Council is deliberating this project during the 2021 CIP, it will be able to have some robust governance structures to work with.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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