Piikani Nation and ATCO Sustainable Communities expand their partnership

 A strong and mutually beneficial partnership that began in 2007 between the ATCO Group of Companies and southern Alberta’s Piikani Nation was expanded last month when Boris Rassin, President, ATCO Sustainable Communities (ATCO-SC) and Piikani Chief Stan Charles Grier announced they had signed a contract that will see the creation of a new 36,000 square-foot multi-purpose centre.

“This new facility,” said Chief Grier, “represents a new horizon in economic growth and prosperity for the Piikani people. It will not only bring our people together for a variety of occasions, but it will also keep more recreational funding dollars within the community, supporting our growth and sustainability. This new facility will be the heartbeat of our community.”

Dancers celebrate during the Piikani Land Blessing ceremony with ATCO Sustainable Communities. Article by John Copley

Dancers celebrate during the Piikani Land Blessing ceremony with ATCO Sustainable Communities. Article by John Copley

“The construction of this important community facility will utilize new and advanced technologies and when completed, it will be one of the finest multipurpose buildings in the area,” noted Rassin. “We’ve had a longstanding partnership with the Piikani Nation through the Oldman River hydroelectric project; today that partnership has been expanded.”

The new facility will be equipped to host a variety of recreational activities, providing space for Piikani Nation community members to gather and engage in a healthy and active lifestyle year-round. Once complete, the facility will include an ice rink, dressing rooms, a concession, community meeting space and offices.

In an interview Rassin talked about the new structure and how it will be built.

“Calgary-based, Sprung Structures will design and manufacture an engineered building shell, and ATCO will be the overall designer of the facility and its General Contractor. We’ll install the Sprung structure on site, put in the foundations, electrical and mechanical ventilation systems, and also build the modular units for the dressing rooms, offices, conference rooms and other facilities needed by the community. The facility will be augmented by R30 insulation, plasma lighting and Odorox™ air purification systems and the hockey arena will have a very sophisticated ice system and its own cooling plant.”

Piikani Land Blessing

Piikani Land Blessing

Sprung Structures is a world leader when it comes to providing performance building solutions that achieve their goals. Their structures can be found in more than 100 countries worldwide. On its website the company notes that: “Our most versatile and durable offering is the Sprung structure, which features an aluminum substructure that far outperforms steel, a performance architectural membrane that exceeds any conventional structure material and premium insulation that has met the test of some of the world’s most extreme climates.

“Sprung is the inventor of the stressed membrane structure, an engineered, relocatable, clear-span building solution. Sprung’s tension fabric building structures allow for rapid construction, total design flexibility, fundamental cost-effectiveness of almost any type of building application. The reliability and durability of our performance architectural membrane fabric structures is demonstrated worldwide, in countless applications ranging from oil and gas buildings to military, event centers to arenas, and aircraft hangars to mining buildings.”

Piikani Nation - artist's rendering of the new multi-purpose centre.

Piikani Nation – artist’s rendering of the new multi-purpose centre.

The first shovel goes into the sod next month; completion is expected in February next year.

Just as its parent company has done for more than three decades, ATCO-SC works closely with Indigenous and other remote communities in and around the regions in which it does business.

“We take our responsibilities very seriously,” assured Rassin. “Our goal is to develop places where people want to live and work, now and in the future, that contribute to a high quality of life and reflect a community’s cultural values.”

ATCO has been partnering with Indigenous communities since 1981, creating more than 30 successful joint ventures, and has 65 years of experience working in some of the most remote locations around the world. ATCO-SC was launched in July 2012 to focus on providing a full range of building solutions for Indigenous and other remote communities. The company combines ATCO’s experience forming successful Indigenous partnerships with its expertise in providing modular and pre-engineered building solutions to remote communities.

Saipoyi Community School Expansion Grand Opening – Blood Tribe, AB.

Saipoyi Community School Expansion Grand Opening – Blood Tribe, AB.

Other recent projects with Indigenous communities in Alberta include a gymnasium at Swan River, a firehall at Peerless Lake and Wabash, a child and family services office building on the Tsuu ’Tina First Nation, a gas station for the Dene Tha’ and a school expansion for the Blood Tribe. ATCO-SC projects span the country from a 100-students school for the St. Mary Indian Band at Cranbrook, to a hotel in Ft Smith and a community centre in Nain, Labrador.

When ATCO-SC takes on a project they bring more to the table than building techniques, they bring a viable plan that includes such things as opportunity, training and education, jobs and, when applicable, contracts. They also bring knowledgeable and culturally sensitive, culturally aware manpower to the job.

Fire Hall – Peerless Trout First Nation, AB

Fire Hall – Peerless Trout First Nation, AB

“We always need extra manpower and the services of local contractors; we look to the community first,” explained Rassin. “We also work closely with other ATCO Group companies, like ATCO Energy Solutions, to secure the expertise, materials and structures we need to construct cost-effective first class facilities that will stand the test of time.”

When it comes to building modular units, there is no one better to have at your side than ATCO Structures & Logistics, a pioneer in the modular construction industry. With projects on five continents and manufacturing facilities in Canada, the USA and Australia, the company, among other things, provides award-winning, turnkey, bundled solutions with a suite of products and services that include workforce housing, modular facilities, site support services and logistics, operations management, noise reduction technologies and turbine emission management systems. The company also specializes in building office trailers, workforce camps and lodges, camp services and catering, facility operations and maintenance, disaster relief services and military support services. Many of these endeavours involve ATCO’s Indigenous partners.

Plaque Presentation for George Gordon Daycare and Headstart Centre – George Gordon First Nation, SK.

Plaque Presentation for George Gordon Daycare and Headstart Centre – George Gordon First Nation, SK.

Building and sustaining these Aboriginal relationships helps to form the foundation of how ATCO does business and this is reflected through both their longstanding relationships with Aboriginal communities and how they engage with these communities every day.

“ATCO-SC combines modern construction technologies with ATCO’s long history of forming successful Indigenous partnerships to build facilities that reflect a community’s cultural values while offering shorter timelines and reduced costs,” Rassin noted in closing. “The company can design and build an entire community with facilities ranging from offices, schools and day care centres to residential housing, hockey arenas and gas stations. We can also provides utility infrastructure, such as water purification and distributed power generation facilities.”

Some of ATCO’s first Aboriginal partnerships have endured for more than 30 years and these successful, long-term relationships have opened the door for ATCO to serve many Aboriginal communities.

Headquartered in Calgary, ATCO Sustainable Communities is part of the ATCO Group of Companies. ATCO Group, with more than 9,000 employees and assets of approximately $18 billion, is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions through leading companies engaged in Structures & Logistics (manufacturing, logistics and noise abatement), Utilities (pipelines, natural gas and electricity transmission and distribution) and Energy (power generation and sales, industrial water infrastructure, natural gas gathering, processing, storage and liquids extraction).

by John Copley



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