By Cindy Filipenko
Mt. Currie has received an Olympic Live Site grant.
MLA Joan McIntrye was in Mt. Currie on Sept. 28 to announce that the Lil’wat Nation community had received the $330,000 grant. The funds, combined with an additional $670,000 of band-generated money, will be used to undertake a $1-million renovation of the community’s 40-year-old gymnasium.
The purpose of the grant is to create community meeting places around the province where people can gather and watch The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Mt. Currie Gym has a tradition of being a primary community meeting place, hosting everything from basketball games to weddings.
“When we were encouraging Mt. Currie to apply for the grant, I learned that the gym is used virtually every night of the year. It’s not only a place for sports but also for sharing cultural values. It’s a pleasure and a thrill to be here to make this announcement,” said McIntyre.
She quoted current usage of the gym at 35,000 visits per year, a number she said could swell to 50,000 post renovations.
The MLA also acknowledged the role First Nations have played in the Olympic process.
“I believe we wouldn’t have been successful on the bid without the Squamish, Lil’wat and other two First Nations. It’s great to put money back into the infrastructure of these communities.”
Mt. Currie Band acting administrator Roger Angell confirmed that the money would be used for structural renovation, including seismic upgrading of the facility, as well as cosmetic renovations. Angell said he expected the construction on the renovation to begin early next spring.
In her closing remarks, McIntyre hinted at more money coming Mt. Currie’s way via Legacies Now funding, due to be announced this week.