The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) and Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) are working to get the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre rebuilt.

The First Nation and Tribal Council are currently working to engage with PAGC membership to get their thoughts on what they would like to see in a new building. The previous building was destroyed by a fire in April of 2022. The building was owned by the PAGC and sat on the territory of the PBCN.

PBCN Chief Karen Bird told MBC Radio News to get feedback from membership engagement sessions have been held and an online survey commissioned.

“Members who did not attend one of the engagement sessions are encouraged to fill out and submit a survey to make sure their voice is heard,” she said.

Bird explained the information which has been gathered from the engagement sessions along with the information that is gathered from the online survey will be taken into account during the design and planning process for the new building.

“The goal is to construct a facility that meets the needs of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and the Prince Albert Grand Council membership community,” she said.

The PBCN Chief added they are looking to make sure all of the nations which make up the PAGC are represented in the design of the building. Bird said they are also hoping that members will put forward ideas in terms of what they would like to see the building be able to accommodate.

“What is needed, what are your ideas for this new facility, what it should look like, how can it accommodate the First Nations from the different First Nations,” she said.

PBCN and PAGC are also working together to find a way to pay for a new building. Bird said the cost is expected to be in the neighborhood of $12 to $14 million. To help raise the money Bird said a funding application has been sent to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). She added the project will be done in a number of phases, the first phase is underway with an architectural firm having been retained to work on a design for the new building. The next phase would see a project manager hired.

There is not currently a firm date when it comes to starting construction. Bird explained before they can set a firm date the finances need to be in place.

“Hopefully we can start something by next summer,” she said.

(Top Photo: The Senator Allan Bird Memorial Centre on fire. Photo by MBC’s Ken Landers.)