On October 7 and 8, the Northern Development team spent time in the Cariboo for its staff retreat. The two days were filled with meeting representatives from organizations in Williams Lake and Quesnel, touring facilities and spending time together as a team after more than a year of hybrid working from home or office.
The retreat began with the team enjoying lunch prepared by community members at Xatśūll Heritage Village. From there, some staff members participated in a beading activity with a Xatśūll First Nation elder while others enjoyed a site tour of the pit house, sweat lodge area and fishing section on the Fraser River.
From Xatśūll Heritage Village, the staff went to meet with Chief Willie Sellars and Aaron Mannella, chief administrative officer, from Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN). Chief Sellars led a tour of WLFN’s new administration building while sharing information about the nation, their recent accomplishments and their goals for the future.
From there, Northern Development staff, Chief Sellars and Mannella boarded a WLFN bus to visit St. Joseph’s Mission, the site of a former residential school, WLFN’s cannabis cultivation facility and Unity Cannabis, a cannabis store operated by the Nation.
In 2019, WLFN received a $250,000 Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant from Northern Development for construction of the cannabis cultivation facility (read about the project here).
The following day, the team visited Quesnel for lunch and a tour of the Hosting Precinct, led by Lindsay Blair, grant writer, City of Quesnel. Blair led the group through the West Fraser Centre, curling arena, Quesnel Visitor Centre and Quesnel Museum. Northern Development has invested in all these facilities through its grant programs, supporting the City of Quesnel’s economic development transition strategy.
Staff expressed happiness for the opportunity to travel once again with their service region and gratefulness for all the people who welcomed them and took time to show them around.