With all energies focused on opening of a Kwantlen First Nation-operated cafe and arts and cultural centre in Fort Langley soon, the annual powwow has been cancelled - but only for one year.
"After hosting two very successful and well-received powwow events over the past two summers, it is with great sadness and disappointment that we have to announce this year's powwow must be cancelled," said committee chair Brandon Gabriel.
Administrative personnel from Kwantlen, as well as representatives of the Seyem' Qwantlen Business Group - the two main proponents of the powwow - are opening a 2,000-square-foot space on Billy Brown Road in the Bedford Landing development.
The new community centre was built by the area developers, Parklane Homes, and recently turned over to the Township.
Under a potential 10-year agreement with the Township, a new non-profit society - tentatively called the Seyen' Qwantlen Arts and Cultural Society - will operate in the facility, with the Township still retaining rights to use the space for some of its existing community programs offered at the nearby Riverside Room.
"Our goal was to make the amenity space an animated place that will bring year-round life and vitality to the Fort Langley waterfront," recreation director David Leavers said in a recent Township economic development newsletter. "This is a facility that will attract residents and visitors to Fort Langley and will complement the activities of local rowing and paddling groups and Fort-to-Fort Trail users."
The Kwantlen's concept is to have the space foster diversity and accent the existing rich sense of community of Fort Langley, said Tumia Knott, a Kwantlen councillor and president of the Seyem' Qwantlen Business Group.
"We look forward to further strengthening our community ties by sharing and bringing the arts and culture of the Kwantlen to Fort Langley," she said.
The cafe and art centre will be called Lelem (pronounced "laylam"), which translates to home or house, a place to gather, eat, and share.
"This is an exciting new development which will focus on delivering high quality arts and cultural event programming to the Township of Langley and the Kwantlen First Nation," Gabriel said.
While he and members of the Kwantlen First Nation have had to refocus all energies on the opening of this new facility, Gabriel said it is their intention to have the powwow return next year.
"It is the vision of the Kwantlen First Nation and the Seyem' Qwantlen Group of Companies that next year's powwow fall under the auspices of this newly formed non-profit society, which we hope will enable us to focus and deliver a high quality program for next year's event," he explained.
@ Copyright 2013