There will be a lot more dingers and bruised shins in the coming years in Metlakatla.
A new baseball field and skate park was officially opened this past Thursday, June 30 to much fanfare, and the launch was celebrated with a barbecue lunch, bubble soccer, skate demonstration and significant investment announcements.
Through the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund, $125,000 was contributed to the Metlakatla Healthy Lifestyles Initiative, which oversaw the construction of the park and sports field.
Collectively, the cost of the new recreation facilities totalled $500,000. That price tag included construction involving lots of rock and muskeg, which were necessary given the area’s challenging landscape to build upon.
“These facilities demonstrate Metlakatla’s commitment to investing in an improved quality of life for people living in the community. The Port of Prince Rupert’s contribution to this project is an example of how port operations directly benefit local communities, and demonstrates how we are working together toward a shared vision of success,” said Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor of Metlakatla First Nation in a press release.
The sports field and skate park are open to anybody in and outside the Metakatla community. The band council asks that visitors respect the laws and regulations in the community, and the baseball diamond has a grass field, which can be converted to a soccer pitch or various other sporting fields, Shaun Thomas, Metlakatla communications manager said.
“The project was actually brought forward by one of the members who recognized the need for enhanced recreation in the community, so from there, essentially we always want to have something for people to do in Metlakatla,” Thomas said early this week.
“There was a lot of youth who would skateboard down the street and around the community but there wasn’t anywhere they could go to practice or hone their skills, so it was definitely something seen as needed in the community.”
To access the facilities, visitors can board the Metlakatla Ferry Service, which runs multiple times per day between Prince Rupert and Metlakatla.
Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert spoke glowingly of Metlakatla’s importance in a diverse and cultural North Coast on Thursday.
“We’ve always found ourselves warmly welcomed in Metlakatla, and we encourage residents of Prince Rupert, Port Edward and other North Coast communities to experience what this vibrant village has to offer. We’re humbled to see the collective impact of our thriving trade gateway expressed through opportunities to modernize and beautify neighbouring communities,” Krusel said.
The funding announcement comes on the heels of the largest Community Investment Fund (CIF) contribution ever ($539,400), which was steered toward digital connectivity and youth recreation in Lax Kw’alaams.