New Tsuut'ina Nation chief lays out priorities after election
Roy Whitney says Costco, ring road construction will provide opportunities
When Tsuut'ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney was first elected in 1984, he began to explore possibilities for a potential ring road in Calgary alongside Ralph Klein, who was mayor at that time.
"In 1984, we were looking at how can we do what we're doing today," Whitney said. "It was a dream back then."
In 2019, as Whitney begins his 11th term as chief of Tsuut'ina First Nation, the ring road is closer to reality than ever. The project is due for completion in 2021.
Under Whitney's leadership in 2013, members of the Tsuut'ina First Nation voted in favour of allowing the southwest leg of Calgary's ring road to run through the community.
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"I'm hoping that it will create opportunities for people to receive new skill sets, if they choose to be part of the development that comes along the ring road," Whitney said. "There's a lot of interest within our community."
But the ring road is just one major development project soon to change the configuration of Tsuut'ina. A new Costco is scheduled to open in 2020, part of a development called Shops at Buffalo Run.
The store will be the anchor tenant for a 500-hectare, multibillion-dollar development along the edge of the ring road called Taza. That area will include entertainment and hospitality complexes, a research campus, retail centres, office developments and more.
"The younger population is looking at, how can we start training in retail?" Whitney said. "How can we be ready when Costco opens to be an employee for Costco?"
Whitney said Costco is working with members of the Tsuut'ina First Nation, taking tours down to the Okotoks Costco location and giving them a retail experience.
"Then, those who choose to apply, they will be trained offsite and ready to move in when the store opens," Whitney said.
Given all of the major changes pending, the Tsuut'ina First Nation is bound to look like a much different place in a couple of years. Whitney said it would be important to manage that change moving forward.
"We're inviting people to come into our communities. We want Calgarians to feel like this development is an opportunity for them," Whitney said. "As the development grows, so will opportunities both within our community, our nation, and outside."
- A former version of this article incorrectly referred to Ralph Klein as premier in 1984. The article has been edited to reflect his position as mayor at that time.Dec 05, 2019 8:32 PM MT
With files from CBC Calgary News at 6 and Sarah Rieger