At the time of writing this page in August 2019, the Society was poised on the brink of some major decisions that are expected to be made before the end of 2019. We have concluded that in order for our fundraising campaign in support of the construction and exhibit preparation, to be credible in the eyes of potential donors, we need to be able to demonstrate that we have the financial capacity to operate our centre once it has been opened. To that end we approached our member Bands in mid-July with a request that they reaffirm the commitments they each made in 2014/2015 to contribute equal shares of the anticipated annual operating deficits for a five year period. We anticipate the Band decisions being finalized by the end of September, in which case we plan to hold a fundraising campaign strategy session during October 2019 to which we have invited Carlie Chase, a member of the Secwepemc Nation who has had a spectacular career fundraising for various large projects in Ontario, and who has agreed to consider acting as a consultant to our future efforts.
In mid-September 2019 we plan to hold separate but related meetings, first with our architectural and exhibit design teams, and secondly with the extremely helpful and generous senior staff of the UBC Museum of Anthropology who have offered to help us train a number of our Band members in the skills and knowledges that will be required for the successful operation of our Centre. From those meetings we expect to be able to draw up a complete plan for moving forward once we have secured the necessary funding.
All of this leaves us about 12 months in which to raise the funds we need in order to carry out the construction of the building and its associated landscaping as well as the exhibits and programs that will be featured in them. If we are able to reach our target within that timeframe, our architects will have comfortable time during the winter of 2020 to finalize the construction documents and to secure acceptable bids for the work of construction that can then be anticipated to begin in the Spring of 2021 and to be completed by the end of that year. Opening of our new Centre could therefore be anticipated for the Spring of 2022.
Closer to the time we plan to conduct a review of our July 2014 Business Plan, which was five years old in June 2019. It is clear that several factors have already had an impact on the operational budget we created in 2014, but we have decided to postpone a formal review in the belief that the only negative factor to have occurred so far, i.e. the two most recent summers of wildfires, is more or less balanced by the increasing popularity of authentic indigenous tourism that is anticipated to increase the volume of visitors to our site.
It is worth noting that the three local governments that operate in the region of our member Bands, the Cariboo Regional District, the District of 100 Mile House and the City of Williams Lake, have all offered support and encouragement to our project since its inception almost 15 years ago. Continuing support has also been provided by the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, the Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association and Indigenous Tourism BC. That support will undoubtedly be of great assistance when we approach private and public organizations for financial contributions for our overall project.
Finally, we draw attention to the brochure that we have developed in support of the eventual fundraising campaign. It may be accessed from our Home Page, and we invite you to take a look at it in order to obtain a good and simple understanding of what we have accomplished and what we are still aiming to do.