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Gateway project moving forward in Elk Valley

This Derick stands in front of the east entrance into Fernie. - Andrea Horton
This Derick stands in front of the east entrance into Fernie.
— image credit: Andrea Horton

By Andrea Horton

 

The Project Manager for the Gateway Project (formerly the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre), Andre Labine, gave a presentation to Council on January 9.

Initially, Rockies Institute developed the concept of the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre and the funding required was estimated to be $17 million to build, furnish and provide initial operations. A further $17 million is required in endowment funds. The funding is expected to come from corporations, businesses, other endowments, individuals and governments.

In 2008 and 2009 with the economic downturn the project was placed on hold. It has now been reactivated as the ‘Gateway Project.’

Labine has been leading the project since it was revived in July of last year with funding obtained from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). Since its revival several committee meetings have been held and a plan to move forward developed. A preliminary plan has been presented to Fernie groups, government and some businesses.

Labine sent out letters to Fernie businesses in mid-December explaining the Gateway concept. The letter also was advising businesses that the Gateway committee will be seeking financial support for the feasibility study. Labine is contacting major Fernie businesses over the next month and is prepared to give a detailed presentation to each business contacted.

The components of the project are to include: celebrating heritage, culture, traditions and relationships with the Ktunaxa Nation; A Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre that will provide education about the Grizzly Bear to the public and create balance within the eco-system and the community; the Oil Derrick Society, which will provide information regarding the last standing wooden oil derrick in B.C. and it’s evolution to today’s oil and gas exploration techniques; A coal mining component that will provide education around its history, geology, the market and economic impact; avalanche education which will work in collaboration with the Canadian Avalanche Centre; and a Visitor Information and Business Opportunity Centre.

The proposed location for the Gateway Project is the current Chamber of Commerce building and land site.

“The building we have today is a little tired looking and needs updating,” said Labine in his address to Council.

For more information on the Gateway Project contact Andre Labine by email at labine44@telus.net or by telephone at 250-423-0366.

 

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