Sunday, November 20, 2011

New multi-use recreation facility for Piikani Nation?

Chris Davis, with submitted material

The Piikani First Nation is hoping to construct a new multi-use recreation facility in Brocket, to be situated at the present site of the ball diamonds west of the tracks and south of the Full Gospel Church.

A proposal, including a work plan submitted by MPE Engineering in Lethbridge, was approved and submitted to Aboriginal Relations and Alberta Environment immigration by Piikani Resource Development (PRD) under the community development trust fund in the spring of 2009. Draft drawings were produced by BEP Engineering of British Columbia in 2010, and were presented to several sectors of the community including Piikani Elders, Piikani Chief and Council and a group of social clientele.

An early quote based on this draft of the proposed facility came in at a cost of $19 million.  BEP Engineering  was instructed to make changes to the building plan in order to reduce the price.  In early 2010 the PRD decided to withdraw as the planning agency for the project.  Later that year the Piikani Youth and Education Foundation (PYEF) was assigned the responsibility.  A referendum was necessary to support the cost of the construction, but was not conducted in time to meet the six-month window of opportunity prior to the Nation's election process.

Consultations between PYEF and the community were conducted throughout the remainder of 2010, allowing them to successfully complete phase 1 of the process.

The PYEF Board is now completing a business plan, based on the needs-assessment report, and is engaging various groups from Piikani Nation including Piikani Elders, Youth Chief and Council, and others, with the goal of having a complete business plan by November 30, 2011.

The final business plan for the proposed recreational facility will be submitted to the  Piikani Nation Chief and Council for review.  If the proposal passes the review a referendum will be arranged to ask for funding from the Nation's trust fund.

A survey distributed throughout the Piikani community over the last year had 56 male responses and 118 female responses.  An overwhelming number felt a recreation facility was needed within the community.  Most felt the band administration offices should not be housed in the same building.  Almost everyone responding indicated they would utilise such a facility if it existed, and were fans of watching hockey or other sports activities.

Baseball and hockey rated quite high as important outdoor and indoor activities to the respondents.

Almost everyone indicated they had to drive off the Piikani Nation to participate in recreational activities, spending significant hours and mileage driving to other communities.

Survey respondent comments frequently referenced the need for more access to recreation activities inside the community.

The Piikani Youth and Education Foundation (PYEF) office has relocated to the PBOE Academy, site of the old daycare facility.  Their phone number remains the same, 403-965-0005.  You can find them online at

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