Sneak preview of great new centre available this summer

  • Dec. 8, 2005 4:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Islanders and tourists will be able to get a sneak preview of the Qay’llnagaay Heritage Centre in the upcoming tourist season, says Skidegate Band Chief Councillor Willard Wilson.
“It’s obvious there is a fair bit of work to be done,” he said, but he feels it is important for people to get a better sense of how the centre is proceeding.
The status of the project was discussed at the annual general meeting of the Heritage Centre Society on Tuesday (Dec. 6).
Mr. Wilson told society members he has been calling the spring 2006 date a “soft” opening, with the grand opening scheduled for spring 2007. Skidegate Band Councillor Paul Pearson cautioned the society about the optics of such a move.
“My feeling is that if you are premature on an opening, you do more damage than good,” he said.
He is concerned about what the public might think if they see tarps and unfinished construction.
Other members discussed using a different term for the opening. “Sneak preview” was suggested. Charlotte Tarver, Haida Gwaii Museum Society board member, said the museum staff has talked about providing guided tours of the unfinished areas of the centre.
Members will bring suggestions for catch phrases and sub-heads for the heritage centre to their next meeting.
Other items that came up in the annual report include a note that the monumental wood search is complete. The society had to pay $22,000 to Cascadia for nine logs over and above the free-use permit costs which amounted to $270,000.
Chief executive officer Robert Dudoward writes in the report if the Cascadia cost is projected over all logs, the society has gathered in excess of $500,000 in monumental cedar.
On other financials, the $25-million capital project is 60-percent complete with $9.9-million spent in 2004/05 fiscal year.
The society is waiting to hear about a $2-million Gwaii Trust application and will be approaching the provincial government with other requests.
A $20,000 marketing plan has been submitted to the board and Skidegate Band Council for approval.