Community effort required to build hall

Whitefish Lake First Nation Chief Albert Thunder, left, prepares to cut the ribbon to officially open the Whitefish Community Hall on Nov. 3. Behind him are Elders, community members and councillors.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It was a long time coming and hailed as a terrific addition to the community.

They were the two sentiments repeated many times when Whitefish Lake First Nation officially opened the $2.3 million Whitefish Community Hall on Nov. 3.

“It’s a wonderful day today,” said Chief Albert Thunder. “We finally get to open a community hall we’ve needed for a long time.

“We no longer have to shut down the school [for funerals and wakes,” he added. “It’s going to be amazing.”

Thunder credited past chief and council and a score of volunteers and other individuals who worked so hard to build the hall. He gave particular credit to many local people and spoke of the importance of working together toward a common goal.

“We’re all getting engaged,” he said. “I see the hard work all the directors are doing.

“Today, for me, I’m a proud to be a band member. For me, I’ve always been proud to be Whitefish Laker.”

Pastor Len Laboucan emphasized Thunder’s comments.

“As we come together as a community we can do anything,” he said during his opening prayer. He also later blessed the building.

“We want to thank God for inviting us as a community to come together.”

Councillor Darren Auger told the audience the hall may be the first phase of a project that may see an arena added.

“We need to a have a community hall. We haven’t had one in years.”

He added the hall also includes a fully functional kitchen that wasn’t “quite ready” yet.

Councillor Richard Laboucan also spoke about the importance of the day.

“I congratulate the whole community. It was a long time coming but we’re here today.”

He also spoke of efforts to build the hall.

“We kept on going. We wanted to see this building come up.”

Councillor Hughie Tallman first thanked Seko Construction, who built the hall.

“Everything you see here is part of our vision, what we wanted to see for the membership.

“We needed a bigger venue. A hall made sense. A big open space for everyone to use.”

Grand Chief of Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council, Ivan Sawan, attended to give greetings and congratulations.

“Give yourself a hand clap,” he said to a thunderous ovation.

“This is your day!

The sod turning for the hall occurred Oct. 2, 2018. At the time, Chief Thunder said it was over 20 years since the band had a community hall.

The hall measures 70 x 100 feet, or 7,000 square feet. It includes a full commercial kitchen, designed to blend in with shared space to an attached arena to the east, if later built. The washrooms will also be shared.

Seating capacity is 600 for events, with capacity of about 350 for seating and dining.

The hall will be competed soon.

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