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A Pipe Ceremony followed by an official Sod Turning Ceremony by Chief Gabriel Gopher of the Saulteaux Band; Honourable Lorne Kopelchuk of Parks and Renewable Resources; and Associate Economic and Development and Tourism Minister, John Gerich was held on site at the Battlefords Provincial Park.
Friday, March 2, 1990 marks another historic date for the Saulteaux nation with the official Sod Turning for construction of Jackfish Lodge, Golf and Conference Center by the Honourable Lorne Kopelchuk, the Honourable John Gerich and Cochin Conference Center Incorporated. After more than a year of negotiations with both the Federal and Provincial Governments, the Chief and Council were able to acquire a 25 year Lease Agreement to take over the existing Golf course and begin construction on the Jackfish Lodge, Golf and Conference Center.
The new $2.5 million private sector, resort/conference center will include 28 guest rooms, a restaurant and cocktail lounge, meeting and banquet rooms, a swimming pool/sauna area and an expanded pro shop. The project also includes an irrigation and course improvements to the existing 18 hole golf course.
As part of its financing, Jackfish Lodge, Golf and Conference Center will receive $540,000 from the new Destination Saskatchewan Programs. Other funding to project includes a $150,000 loan from the Saskatchewan Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO).
"This project is the fourth four-season we have supported in key, Saskatchewan park locations," Gerich said. "The conference center hotel will not only improve amenities within the park, but will also provide additional quality accommodations in support of historical and cultural developments within the "heart of Canada's Old Northwest region."
Construction of the resort is expected to begin the second week in April. Improvements to the Golf Course will also being at the same time, weather permitting The new Conference Center planned to open for business early this fall. The Golf Course will remain open for business during the summer season with completion expected in the spring of 1991.
The resort town of Cochin attracts thousands of tourists every summer. The visitors will be attracted by a broad range of seasonal activities such as golfing, boating, fishing, hiking and cross country skiing.
The new facility is expected to create 12 person years of construction employment and 13 on-going full-time operational jobs.
Other business enterprises undertaken by the band are Cochin Construction, and Cochin convention Center Ltd.
The ministers pointed to the cooperation between various levels of government and the Saulteaux Band as a major reason for the successful launch of the project.
A banquet held at the Saulteaux Band Hall following the Sod Turning and Pipe Ceremony included guest speakers from Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Vice-Chief Tom Iron; Val Cawood, Regional Office, Indian Affairs, Regina; Deputy Mayor Ray Spichike, Village of Cochin.
Fred Gopher, Band Councilor with the portfolio Economic Development addressed the guests in Cree. He said the Band Council will have to be more accountable to it's band members in terms of finances and responsibilities. Master of ceremonies was Rodney Gopher. Closing prayers were said by Elder Joe Katcheech.