FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – A Métis Cultural Centre more than 30 years in the making is becoming a reality.
McMurray Métis has partnered with local builder Casman Group of Companies on the one-of-a-kind facility. A press conference was held on Tuesday morning to make the announcement.
Bill Loutitt, CEO of McMurray Métis, said most of the project funds have been secured and they are exploring other federal, provincial, and municipal funding options for the rest.
“We’re heavily invested in the centre ourselves and are committing $16.5 million of our own money to the Métis Cultural Centre,” he said. “This dollar amount matches the $16.5 million grant from Alberta Infrastructure via the joint Canada and Alberta ‘Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan’.”
The overall cost of the project doubled from an initial $22 million budget to $44 million, something Loutitt said wasn’t unexpected.
“We always knew that to build a world-class facility that will draw people from all over the world…wasn’t going to happen for $22 million,” he said, adding that once complete the facility will boast an education area, research zone, museum, traditional gathering facility, and offices.
Loutitt said shovels will be in the ground this Spring.
“Heavy construction will start in the next few months and will be creating local, Indigenous jobs in the Wood Buffalo region,” he said. “The construction of the Métis Cultural Centre will be an economic shot in the arm for Fort McMurray and Northeastern Alberta.”
Gail Gallupe, President of McMurray Métis, said they are pleased to be teaming up with Casman on the project.
“They’re a well-known and respected member of our local business community with a proven track record of success,” she said. “Casman has been operating in Wood Buffalo for the past four decades, and like the McMurray Métis, their employees call Fort McMurray home and will work side by side with us during the construction build period in the years ahead.”
Construction is estimated to take approximately three years to complete.