By Tawnya Plain Eagle
Groundbreaking ceremony took place today for a 360 meter-long egress road adjacent to the Piikani Nation Rodeo grounds.
This project is the start of a training initiative with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 955 that will provide heavy equipment operator training to community members.
“Helping the Piikani people get trained and prepared to secure the jobs on their traditional lands is a great honour as they have been a part of the consultation process on these projects from the start,” Jay Smith, Piikani Employment Services said.
Smith says the Nation and the Union mutually recognize the strengths each party brings to the table and are excited to announce a training initiative directly on the traditional lands of the Nation.
“Not only will Members of the Piikani Nation receive training at no cost to them, their training will be much greater than just moving dirt,” he said.
The construction of this road will allow for safer travel during traditional ceremonies and celebrations, as well as better traffic flow.
“Our goal is that long after this project is over there will be a permanent reminder of what is possible when we work together,” Smith said.
Smith is proud of the this partnership because he believes it is ideal time for this training because of the metallurgic coal sector in the area ramping up for construction and eventual operation.