The McMurray Métis are getting $13.1 million from the municipality for their cultural centre.
Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they unanimously approved providing the funds for the project.
The budget originally was set at $22 million, however, it’s increased to $74.7 million as prices for materials have risen and multiple cost estimates were done.
Multiple delegates spoke at the meeting including Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta, who noted this project will do wonders in helping share more about Métis culture and history.
“We look forward to sharing our story, our culture, the true history of this region with the world in a facility that we will thrive in and be a beacon of light.”
Councillor Phil Meagher echoed Poitras thoughts.
He stated he believes this centre will be talked about by many outside of the community.
“This is going to be provincially and nationally recognized as a Métis iconic symbol.”
Multiple groups, both local and provincial, have expressed their support for the project.
This includes the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism, and Indigenous Tourism of Alberta.
“As you’ve heard from the delegates and the many letters of support, the centre has wide community and provincial support,” added Bill Loutitt, CEO of the McMurray Métis.
The McMurray Métis will be allocating nearly $16.5 million of their own funds into the project.
The province has provided a grant of $16.5 million which matches the RMWB’s investment as the land on MacDonald Island they provided at a nominal fee was valued at over $3 million.
The federal government is currently processing a funding request of $25 million. The McMurray Métis note they’ve heard from federal representatives who state the request will most likely be approved.
To help out, council also approved sending a letter of support to the government of Canada.
Meanwhile, construction has already started on the project.
Crews are currently working on installing deep services such as water, sewer, and storm pipes.
It’s expected work will take around three years to complete.
Once finished, the centre will be in the shape of an infinity symbol and will include an art gallery, fire circle, conference centre, greenhouse, room for youth programming, and more.