Northern Development Initiative Trust has approved a $30,000 grant to support the Toosey Indian Band’s initiative to create the ‘Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation’.
Their project proposes revitalizing the old Riske Creek Elementary School that was previously taken over from the school district. The school has been closed for a number of years and vandalism has played a factor in the need to repair and clean up the facility. The Toosey Indian Band’s goal is to turn the school into a multi-use facility that doubles as a community hall as well as a trades training, recreation and skills training centre. The proposed project includes a series of restoration endeavors including roof restoration, window, wood heater and water pump installations, as well as a B.C. Hydro hookup for the building.
Since renovations kicked off in April 2014, there has been an overwhelming sense of community pride at the old Riske Creek Elementary School. Not only have six former Tl’esqox Students returned to the School to help restore the facility, but they have also established a Facebook page to highlight the project renovations.
The ‘Riske Creek School Redevelopment for Trades, Skills and Recreation project’ is intended to introduce and involve the younger generation, who have little to no experience, with the opportunities to gain experience to enter the workforce. Many individuals have previously approached the Band to get involved in the community, and this project provides them this opportunity.
Since the school also doubles as a community hall for the Band, it provides them the ability to host a variety of events including: sporting events, weddings, meetings, school events and even business forums. Revenue could be generated through the rental of the facility with the influx of these community events.
Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program provides municipalities, regional districts, First Nations bands and registered non-profit organizations with up to 50% of a project’s budget to a maximum of $30,000 in funding to improve or expand existing facilities in order to increase the number of events held annually in the community, contributing to service sector revenues in the local economy.
“It has been such a great experience to come back to the school I went to and to be part of the renovation. We were included in many of the decisions made by our project manager Craig Kennedy, who let us pick out the color for the school and also the renaming. We helped with the business planning for our core box building enterprise which will allow us to continue on there as employees when the project has been completed.” Micheile Solomon, worker, Riske Creek School.
“I have been so excited to learn new skills during this renovation. I can put on my resume that I have done framing, drywall repair, electrical, window and door replacements and general carpentry skills. We enjoy learning new skills with our journeyman carpenter, Dennis Tulloch. I can’t believe the transformation the school has taken since we started in May. I am excited to continue on as an employee beyond the end of the renovation.” Vern Solomon, worker, Riske Creek School.
“I am very pleased at how well the youth working at the school have done. It is a huge achievement to take a building of that size and fix and repair it. All of the organizations who have helped out with funding and support have shown a great interest in the project and we have people stopping in very frequently now telling us how amazing the facility looks.” Craig Kennedy, Project Manager of Riske Creek School.
• The proposed project is expected to generate $45,000 in incremental revenue. This revenue is expected to be generated through the rental of the facility for training and education purposes as well as weddings, funerals and other events.
• The Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training Employment Centre has confirmed funding of up to $91,619 toward carpentry and construction funding for the five participants in the training programming.
• The applicant estimates that as a result of the proposed project, the property value could increase by a total of 25% when the renovations are completed.
• Northern Development has already approved 41 projects through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $910,402.
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Manager, Market Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust