Partnership benefits Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and Britco
Before Britco opened its Prince George office in April 2013, the company had few contacts in the town or with anyone in the booming construction sector. That all changed when the modular construction company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
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The MOU established a joint venture business, with a focus on supplying modular buildings to the growing number of major projects proposed for the Lheidli T’enneh traditional territory and northern BC.
“All of a sudden, we were part of the community,” says Kareem Allam, director of corporate social responsibility and aboriginal relations at Britco. “The Lheidli T’enneh are members of the Chamber of Commerce, and they know all the developers, so as our partner, they are great advocates of our business.”
The partnership proved important in the run-up to the 2015 Canada Winter Games, held in Prince George. For the first time in its 48-year history, the Games designated a First Nation – the Lheidli T’enneh – as the official host nation for the event. This historic occasion created many opportunities for the two partners to work together.
“Britco came on board to help us with the Canada Winter Games, to provide us with a pavilion to showcase the aboriginal people of this land,” said Dominic Frederick, chief of the Lheidli T’enneh.
After the Games, the pavilion’s modular buildings will be transformed into fully furnished libraries and donated to First Nation communities in northern BC as a legacy project.
For the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, partnerships with private sector companies like Britco are an important way to strengthen their community and build the skills of their people. Chief Frederick said the partnership – which includes jobs and skills training – has benefited many community members who work with Britco and are able “to help build the economy within our community.”
He noted that the these partnerships also benefit the private sector partner. “It’s a big advantage for our partner to have permission to move ahead with projects within the territory because you have that relationship.”
Obie Erickson, now interim president of Britco, agrees the partnership has helped Britco. “We look for good community partners,” he says. “First Nations are a big part of those partnerships, and Lheidli T’enneh is a perfect example.”
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