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Photo: Garry Oker (left) and Jerry Lemmon (right) presented the interim business in May and presented the final plan for the Saa Maa Energy Interpretive Centre on Monday – Christine Rumleskie/

The Saa Maa Centre for Energy and Culture is set to move forward after Fort St. John City Council unanimously voted in favour of a motion, Monday, to endorse the Centre’s master plan and business case.

The “Edge of the Sun” Centre is expected to cost an estimated $17.5 million, which incorporates the building, the surrounding land and a proposed RV park, said EWD Consulting’s Jerry Lemmon.

Currently, the project has $3 million in guaranteed funding from the City, the Province, and the federal government. The remaining $14+ million has yet to be raised.

On Monday, a few of the councillors voiced concerns about the outstanding money, and also fears that if the project fails to raise that money, the City will be asked to provide additional funding.

Mayor Bruce Lantz put forward an addition to the set of recommendations for the Centre, stating that the City will contribute a maximum of $1 million, whether or not the remaining money is raised.

Lantz added that that amount does not include the City’s annual contributions for operational costs for the Visitor Centre portion of the project.

However, the City will establish an Interpretive Centre Fundraising and Marketing Committee that will determine how to raise the outstanding funds, and also settle on a name for the centre, since Saa Maa is currently only a working title.

The remaining funds could potentially come from industry, private donations, as well as provincial and federal programs, says EWD Consulting’s Jerry Lemmon.

The Centre would act both as a tourist destination and as a learning/interpretive centre, Lemmon says.

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The Centre’s design includes a conference centre, an amphitheatre, child-friendly outdoor exhibits, and a sustainable RV park.

It would be located off the Alaska Highway, between the Ufa and the G8 Properties at the southern end of the city.

The Centre’s main building is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012, with other portions of the project being phased-in over a further three year period.

Attached is a copy of the business plan presented to Fort St. John City Council.  Download the attached pdf to review the document.

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