Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson joined Piikani Nation members on July 30 to celebrate the success of the centre, which is located off Highway 3 east of Pincher Creek.
The Piikani Travel Centre provides discount fuel, a convenience store and a fast food restaurant – serving Indigenous meals – to area residents and travellers. Visitors can learn about the culture of the Blackfoot People who are so vital to Alberta’s history and find authentic First Nations crafts sold at the store.
“The Piikani Travel Centre is a great example of Alberta’s Recovery Plan in action. Jobs, diversification and community benefits: this project ticks all the boxes. Congratulations to the Piikani Nation. Your vision, commitment and Blackfoot business know-how point the way to a bright future.”Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
“I just wanted to acknowledge the Government of Alberta under Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson and Minister Ric McIver for their overwhelming support of the opening of this Piikani Travel Centre. Without their involvement, it would have been very difficult to complete a project of this magnitude.”Kiaayo Tamisoowo Chief Stanley (Stan) C. Grier, Piikani Nation Chief, and President of the Blackfoot Confederacy
The Piikani Travel Centre is one of eight community-owned businesses helping fuel economic recovery in Indigenous communities through the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF), which provides capital grants to Indigenous community-owned businesses that support social and economic development.
A $500,000 ABIF grant is being used to design and build an asphalt parking lot to lower maintenance costs, increase curb appeal and improve drainage around the Piikani Travel Centre.
The project will create 24 jobs during construction and 23 permanent jobs for members of Piikani Nation. The Piikani Travel Centre sits on a 10-acre parcel of land that, in time, may be developed into an RV park to accommodate the region’s growing tourism sector.
ABIF grants are currently open for 2021-22 submissions.