The Lil’wat Nation broke ground on a new community gas station on Friday, Oct. 27.
Roughly 60 people turned up, a mix of community members, construction workers, and representatives from the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
The gas station will be located in Mount Currie, just off Highway 99.
“This will be a hub for tourism for the nation and a gathering for the community,” said Graham Turner, retail operations manager for the Lil’wat Business group, which will operate the station.
Members of Lil’wat band council as well as youth and elders carried out a ceremony to bless the land.
The project is slated to open in 12 to 16 months, said Turner, who compared it to the Lightfoot Gas Station, a community-minded gas station located in Lillooet.
It will carry all of the typical things you'd find in a convenience store, plus hot food, he said.
The Lil’wat already have a popular gas station, and this one is being dubbed “LGS 2.0.”
“LGS 2.0 will pride itself on hiring aboriginal youth, working with community entrepreneurs and being an authentic part of landscape,” said Turner.
Earlier this month, Whistler council gave the greenlight to a separate Lil'wat development in Function Junction consisting of a gas station and three mixed-use buildings containing office and commercial space, as well as 18 units of employee housing.
Preparations began at the 2.15-hectare site last week. It's expected to open sometime in late-2019 or early-2020.