The Williams Lake Indian Band’s Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium, the home of several sporting events throughout the year such as ball hockey tournaments, is slated to receive upgrades thanks to funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program. (Patrick Davies photo)

WLIB’s Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium slated for renovations

The gym is a vital cultural and community centre where numerous events and activities take place

The Williams Lake Indian Band’s Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium at Sugar Cane is slated for upgrades and renovations.

That’s thanks to $76,760 of funding through the Northern Development Initiative Trust — part of over $500,000 being divvied up between Northern B.C. communities and projects through the NDIT’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program following their July 23 meeting.

The Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium project will include the purchase and installation of new flooring, new air condition and heating systems, commercial grade kitchen equipment and new bathroom fixtures.

The Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium is a vital cultural and community centre where numerous events and activities take place year-round.

These upgrades are aimed at providing increased opportunities to rent the gymnasium for additional events, such as sports tournaments and private functions.

READ MORE: Local youth play hearts out at WLIB Spring Ball Hockey Classic

“The Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium is an integral facility in our community and serves many purposes,” said Marg Shelly, CAO of the Williams Lake Indian Band.

“With this grant from Northern Development, we can make significant improvements to the gymnasium, which will only increase opportunities for the Williams Lake Indian Band and surrounding communities.”

Margo Wagner, NDIT chair, said the board is pleased to support these worthwhile projects throughout its service region.

“Half of the Economic Diversification Infrastructure projects directly [benefit] First Nations communities,” Wagner said.

Other funding from the NDIT was approved for the Metlakatla First Nation ($79,094 for its Wilderness Trial Structure rehabilitation project), the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine ($125,000 to equip the newly-built Upper Skeena Recreation Centre) and the North Peace Airport Society ($250,000 for the North Peace Regional Airport runway rehabilitation project.)

The next intake deadline for the Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program is Oct. 31, 2019.

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