Xwísten First Nation’s New Gymnasium in Bridge River Attracts Tournaments And Promotes Fitness

Bridge River Indian Band

2012 - Xwísten First Nation (the Bridge River Indian Band) has utilized funding from Northern Development's Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program in partnership with the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund to be used in completing a new administration building gymnasium and recreation areas that will include a soccer field.

The Band has completed the gymnasium and purchased new sports equipment, tables, chairs, scoreboards, and bleachers. The band has also completed their HeadStart childrens play area, and excavate and complete their soccer field by adding goal posts and nets.

"This building was a vision for a long time.  I remember a building fund when I was a kid.  It started as such a small plan and over the years it developed and got bigger and bigger until we got this.  Health is a big one - they can do vaccinations here at the office because we have the facilities now, we don’t have to worry about trying to set it up in town."

Bradley Jack, Chief, Bridge River Indian Band

Positive Economic Impacts in Bridge River

The improvements to the facilities are expected to result in direct economic impacts through rental fees, workshops, conference fees, and tournament fees for use of the facilities. In addition, local service providers such as elders, spiritual leaders, small businesses, and caterers will be hired during events that will be held at the facilities. With the new space and the increased number of events that are anticipated to be held in the community, less economic leakage will result.

Xwísten First Nation has been taking an extremely proactive role in improving the community, and has seen many benefits from their efforts. By making the continued improvements to the community, the Band has seen a steady rise in both tourists and revenues. The nearby community of Lillooet is also benefiting from the improvements in Bridge River as visitors to both communities are contributing to the tourism economy of the greater Lillooet area by staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants, and utilizing services in the community.