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Groundbreaking ceremony held at Quatsino First Nation’s new gas station site

Chief Tom Nelson thanked everyone for attending the ground-breaking of their new gas station site

A groundbreaking ceremony was held May 8 off the Coal Harbour road at the site where the Quatsino First Nation’s new gas station is going to be built.

The ceremony started with a welcoming speech from Charles Sheard, board vice-chair of the Quatsino Ecomonic Development LP company, who then introduced a group of students from the local K’ak’ot’lats’i School to perform a cultural song and dance, before Chief Tom Nelson spoke to the large crowd that had shown up to watch.

Nelson thanked everyone for attending the groundbreaking of their new gas station site, stating he was proud to see all of the young children embracing their culture. “It’s very important to keep our culture,” he said, also noting that he’s looking forward to the future when they have their own big house where the youth can “really perform.”

“I really take my hat off to all the people who helped us get our gas station here going,” he added. “We did make an attempt a few times that wasn’t very successful, but they were very successful this time so I’m really looking forward to that and it’s nice to see a big crowd here today, I welcome you all.”

Nelson then thanked his Quatsino First Nation councillors, stating that he feels the nation is “moving along at a steady pace, we’re getting there, and I see a lot of success in the future ahead of us. Quatsino will be well off in the future.”

MLA Michele Babchuk’s constituency assistant Fred Robertson was in attendance to give a speech as Babchuk was not being able to be there in person.

“Michele sends her apologies, she would typically have been here for an event like this, but legislature is sitting and as deputy whip she has a hard time getting away,” he said, noting that Babchuk will be looking forward to joining everyone for the grand opening.

Robertson then gave a brief speech where he thanked the Quatsino First Nation for the invitation to the ceremony, stating he feels it’s a “very exciting day” and that he’s happy to see the community benefitting from government grant money (the Quatsino gas station project received $992,700 through the province’s Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure program).

“It’s always been Michele’s priorities to work with First Nations, to help where she can, and this is one example of that.”

Councillor Dennis Dugas was on hand as well to represent the District of Port Hardy, and he gave a speech stating it was his honour to be on the unceded traditional territory of the Quatsino First Nation, “so thank you for that opportunity.”

Dugas added that Mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, but she sent in her best wishes for the project, and “it’s exciting to see everyone here.”

Once completed, the Quatsino gas station property will include a sales building with a washroom, four fuel dispensers each with diesel and three gas grades, an 80,000 litre fuel storage tank (40/20/20), and a canopy (roof).

Civil site preparation will happen from May to June, concrete and piping from June to July, delivery of major equipment August to September, finalized site installations will be completed in the fall of 2024, and then project commissioning will occur in the spring of 2025.

Tyson Whitney

About the Author: Tyson Whitney

I have been working in the community newspaper business for nearly a decade, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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