NORTH BATTLEFORD, SK, Sept. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Following Monday's City Council session, the City of North Battleford agreed to enter into an economic partnership with local First Nations for the development of a world-class tourist attraction. The proposed Battlefords First Nations Cultural Pavilion and Heritage Park will be the first of its kind in the world, showcasing the rich history, culture and traditions of the Cree, Lakota and Saulteaux First Nations.
Rather than capital investment, the economic partnership with the City of North Battleford involves a contribution of land. The property, which is currently undeveloped, comprises two parcels north of the Yellowhead Inter-Provincial Highway (#16). The land is bordered on the east by the Western Development Museum, on the west by the Gold Eagle Hotel and Casino, and to the north by the newly constructed Battlefords and District Sports, Recreation and Entertainment Multiplex facilities.
"The support and involvement of the City of North Battleford is a major milestone in the development of the Heritage Park project. With the land use approved, we can turn our focus toward building a world-class tourist attraction," says Pat Woods, Project Advisor for the Battle River Nations Trade and Tourism Association Inc - a non-profit corporation established to oversee the development, ownership and operation of the Park.
As per the agreement reached Monday, the land allocated by the City is to be used strictly for the development of a Heritage Park. The property will also be governed by a standard municipal services agreement, and all development will meet or exceed government environmental and water drainage standards.
In addition to First Nations communities and the City of North Battleford, anticipated stakeholders may include the Town of Battleford, and Community Organizations and Associations within the tourism market area.
"This project is important on many levels," says Chief Duane Antoine of the Poundmaker Cree Nation. "There are substantial economic benefits for the Battlefords in the form of employment and tourism. But the project also represents a positive new relationship between First Nations and the non-Aboriginal community. It is great point of pride and companionship, bringing together people from many communities and First Nations across the region. We are excited to be moving forward."
About Battlefords First Nations Cultural Pavilion and Heritage Park
The Battlefords First Nations Cultural Pavilion and Heritage Park is designed to capitalize on a growing interest in Aboriginal tourism worldwide. Currently the fastest growing segment of the tourism sector in Canada, Aboriginal tourism contributed an estimated $800 million to the Canadian economy in 2010.
Features of the core attraction area of the Heritage Park will include a 5,000 sq ft enclosed tipi (the largest in the world), a 4,000 sq ft First Nations Cultural Pavilion and a wide variety of other entertainment and recreation areas.
A future secondary attraction area will be located south of the Yellowhead Highway, extending all the way down to the historic Town of Battleford and Fort Battleford. Some of the features include activities and tours along the North Saskatchewan River, a number of interpretative trails, and "tipi-style" all-season cabin accommodations.
The two attraction areas will be tied together with a pedestrian overpass bridge, designed with a unique bow and arrow aesthetic. This bridge is expected to become a defining landmark of the region.
The new Heritage Park will complement a range of existing cultural attractions.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to add to the heritage of the area. With the natural history of the ravine and river valley to the south, Western Development Museum to the east and the Agricultural Society (which just celebrated their hundredth anniversary in this location) to the north, visitors will have the opportunity to experience an unprecedented amount of history in one place," says Chief Antoine.
SOURCE: Battlefords First Nations Cultural Pavilion and Heritage Park
For further information:
J. Patrick Woods
Project Advisor - Battle River Nations Trade and Tourism Association Inc
Executive Director - Northwest Professional Services