County joins planning committee for sesquicentennial

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A Friendship Accord is being planned as a local component to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

Big Lakes County, the Town of High Prairie and regional Aboriginal communities are banding together to plan the event.

At its regular meeting May 25, county council approved the concept proposed by the town’s sesquicentennial committee.

“They’ve asked us if we want to be part of it and we should have somebody on the committee,” Reeve Ken Matthews says.

Matthews and Joussard Councillor Ed Podollan were appointed to serve on the committee.

Town Councillor Michael Long chairs the committee. It also includes town coun- cillors Brian Gilroy and Debbie Rose, and members at large Lori Matthews, Noela Van- dermeulen, Linda Koesveld, Trish Long and Nancy Tancowny.

“We believe all people in our area are served through positive relationships among First Nations, Metis Settlements, the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County,” states a letter from Rose.

“To symbolize this mutual sharing and contributions, we desire to partner a relationship in planning a formal ceremony to commemorate this accord.”

The ceremony has been proposed for the spring and could coincide with the official opening of the new High Prairie Health Complex, Rose states in an email to the county.

Aboriginal communities would include East Prairie Metis Settlement, Gift Lake Metis Settlement, Pea- vine Metis
Settlement, Driftpile First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Swan River First Nation, and Whitefish First Nation.

“The idea is to not only create some events and activities for residents, but to create some lasting legacy projects and maybe do some things that will draw some positive attention to our area,” Rose states.

A major event is planned each month during the year. Town council has budgeted $100,000 for events.

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