Development authority says it will begin consultation with First Nations on the plan this month By Connell Smith, CBC News
The proposal for Saint John’s Fort LaTour site would see a small interpretation centre
Members of Saint John’s Fort LaTour Development Authority plan to meet with Aboriginal groups later this month to consult about their plans for the historic property on the city’s waterfront.
Beth Kelly Hatt, the group’s chair, says the site has a 4,000-year history as a trading and gathering place for First Nations.
“Before we get there we have a lot more discussions to have with archeological services, with aboriginal affairs and we have meetings with First Nations this month,” said Hatt.
Today the open grassy area is most famously known for the French fort that was situated here from 1631 to 1645.
“It’s the only site outside of France that had a French civil war,” said Hatt.
‘It’s a very reasonable amount.’
This is where Madam LaTour, with 40 soldiers, held off the much larger attacking force of rival Governor Charles de Menou d’Aulnay for three days before surrendering.
Today there is an open grassy area around a large central mound where the fort once overlooked the approaches to the river.
Hatt’s group envisions a collection of a few small buildings, pathways, and an amphitheatre which they believe can all be built for $2 million.
“It’s a very reasonable amount,” said Hatt.
“But I think we’re going to have a very impactful site.”
The interpretation centre, it is hoped, would be curated by the New Brunswick museum.
The buildings would be surrounded by a palisade to resemble the original structures on the site almost 400 years ago.
Beth Kelly Hatt, the chair of the Fort LaTour Development Authority, says she hopes to meet with First Nations groups this month. (Connell Smith/CBC)
The actual mound and footprint of the fort – a conservation area – would remain untouched.
The proposed funding breakdown would see the federal government kick in $950,000, much of it through funds being made available for Canada 150 anniversary commemorations.
It is hoped the province would kick in $400,000 and Saint John will spend $200,000. Private sector and community groups would be asked for a total of $400,000.
Saint John MP Wayne Long said in a statement he has met with representatives from the group and the proposal is being reviewed “as we speak”.
“There’s such a rich history here, it’s a shame we haven’t developed Fort LaTour yet,” said Long in the statement.
Saint John councillors appeared to like what they saw during a presentation May 2.
“It’s been, what? 45 years, since we’ve talked about this in this city?” said Coun. Bill Farren.
“In the last three or four years it’s actually getting there.”