Write to Read broadens mandate with Kyquot project
What started out as a project to deliver a library to the tiny aboriginal community of Kyquot on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island has morphed into The Big Project, a new step forward in the fast growing W2R history. The Big Project will now including a Learning Centre instead of a library, with fibre optic wiring to allow for Long Distance Learning and Tele-conferencing. That means students at the Kyquot school can simply walk a few hundred metres north to continue their higher education.
The Learning Centre will be part of a larger Community Centre that will include a gym, museum, kitchen, elders and youth meeting rooms. The Learning Centre will be built next to a new Big House that will seat up to 500 people for potlatches, gatherings, weddings, funerals and celebrations. Given the very remote location of Kyquot – it’s a wo hour drive on a rough logging road to the nearest highway and five hours drive to Nanaimo, plus a 45-minute ride on a water taxi to the reserve – all construction materials will need to be provided on site.
The Community Centre and Big House will be constructed on a site currently heavily forested. A mill will be imported and logs felled right on the site. Concrete foundations will be poured and work performed by members of the community. This will provide both labour and trades training for community members. Online learning will allow youth to acquire trades certificates in construction.
Floor plans and blueprints have already been drawn by W2R architect Scott Kemp, who has worked on several W2R libraries. He is assisted on this project by intern architect Kelly Bapty. Engineers Mike Herrold and Melissa Kindratsky will supervise, along with the direction of “big house builder” Steve Lawrence of Victoria. Master carver Moi Sutherland will train a team of village carvers to create several totems, wall art and other structures. Kyquot Chief Peter Hanson and band CAO -chief financial officer – Cynthia Blackstone will be the contact people in the village, along with Russel Hanson, the Building Committee Chair.
Funding for the project will follow a crowdsourcing model under the direction of First Nations businessman Lawrence Lewis. Estimated cost of the project ranges from $2-$8 million, depending on a wide variety of factors including square footage, construction wages, imported materials and more.