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Community Outreach: Prince Rupert

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Prince Rupert: Port Investment Benefits Skill Development and Community Nutrition

The Prince Rupert Port Authority has donated C$244,000 from its Community Investment Fund to help preserve traditional food production, increase nutritional education and develop new skills within the Gitxaala Nation.

A celebration was held April 12 in the coastal village of Kitkatla (BC) to bless and commission two new community spaces: a garden and greenhouse where local produce will be grown, and a kitchen and eatery for food preparation and training. The event was attended by more than 100 Kitkatla residents that included school children and elders, as well as a delegation of staff from the port who prepared the first community meal served out of the new kitchen.

The kitchen had fallen into disrepair. Local workers renovated the building, installed the new kitchen and added a two-story deck that allows its patrons to sit outdoors and enjoy the oceanfront view. The kitchen will provide an opportunity for Gitxaala to partners with North West Community College in offering a culinary training program to residents interested in pursuing regional employment opportunities.

Kitkatla’s garden program was initiated several years ago, but the lack of naturally occurring topsoil and the cost to ship it to the community by barge remained a hindrance. The recent addition of a 20-by-40-foot greenhouse with a heating and water system will allow the community to become increasingly self-sufficient, promote physical activity through gardening and maintenance, and ultimately lead to a reduction in diet-related illnesses among community members.

Most of the funding for the Gitxaala Community Garden and Kitchen project came from the port authority.
"We couldn’t be happier after seeing the impact of these projects first-hand," said Port Authority President & CEO Don Kruse. "The community kitchen and garden are physical embodiments of the spirit of our Community Investment Fund, which was established to enable significant quality of life improvements to a broad demographic of community members. Experiencing these facilities, surrounded by members of the Gitxaala Nation, it was evident how useful these community assets already are, and will be for years to come."

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