'Open for business'

Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

Old horse racing track to be developed

By Jennifer Stahn

Tk'emlups te Secwepemc chief Shane Gottfriedson said the former Sagebrush Downs horse racing track could become a mix of retail and office in the near future as council looks at options for developing the unused land.

As the “new face of economic development” Gottfriedson says he has been “kicking a few tires around” in the hopes of building up interest in developing on the reserve land. He hopes to get a few big box stores – like Cabela's and the Bass Shop – to set up on the north side of the river.

The band commissioned Colliers to complete a report on how to best diversify the property and Gottfriedson said they reiterated what council already thought and confirmed the steps that should be taken to develop the land.

“Horse racing is dead here,” making the choice to redevelop the land easy for council. Gottfriedson said. About 80 per cent of the land will be part of the new phase of development with the remaining portion to be kept aside for agriculture – something that is important to council given the rich history.

The band is now marketing the 61-acre development site and the chief has been talking to people to gauge interest. His ultimate goal, he said, is to make the area a hub for the First Nations of the Interior, “we truly do believe there is life outside of Vancouver, and Kelowna as well,” when it comes to First Nations business.

The Sagebrush Downs land is one of several developments the band is looking at right now, the existing Chief Louis Centre continues to grow and a project at 7 Mile Business Park could see an announcement soon as well.

Gottfriedson said the goal of the band is to become self sufficient and these developments help them to do that.

“When you look at level of development TTeS is involved in, we really took our economic development to another level,” the chief noted, but ultimately you “have to dream big to have big success – and we are open for business.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 819-3723.

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