COTE FIRST NATION - Members of the Cote First Nation assembled on the morning of April 5 to turn sod to symbolize the official launch of a project that will see a new $15 million arena built on their homeland.
Elder Reggie Severight opened the ceremony with a prayer that was followed by drumming and singing. Among those in attendance were a number of former Cote hockey players – some of who were around to see the first arena that was built on the nation 50 years ago.
Funded entirely by the community, the new arena will replace the existing one that was constructed in 1972. Cote leaders described the First Nation as being “a hockey community” as they reminisced about practicing, playing against area rivals, and celebrating a number of star hockey players from years gone by.
“Every child matters,” said Chief George Cote in his opening remarks to the many children and parents attending the ceremony. “We want to make sure you guys have a future.”
The new 800-seat arena at the Cote First Nation will include an ice rink, a walking track, a weight room, and dressing rooms. Chief George Cote commented on the health benefits that the facility could have for community members who are suffering from diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Chosen by the nation to take on the project, SEKO Construction, a company with corporate headquarters in Edmonton and regional offices in Vancouver and Calgary, is currently looking to hire a number of qualified subcontractors to work and live for approximately twelve months in the Kamsack area. The company plans to break ground in early June.
“This is something we’ve dreamt of,” said Cote First Nation Councillor Jaret Stevenson. “I’m very happy to have been put in touch with SEKO Construction. It was a friend of mine that referred me to them and said ‘you can’t go wrong with these guys – and up until this point, it’s been fantastic.”
Stevenson went on to thank the council and Chief for all being in support of the project that he believes is going to benefit the community for years to come.
“I’m thankful for this day,” said Stevenson. “I’m so happy I could cry right now – but I’m not going to,” he said with a smile. “I’m too tough for that.”