Statement on Fort Whoop-Up
To provide clarification on the current and future status of Fort Whoop-Up, we are providing the following statement from Bary Beck, Director of Community Services for the City of Lethbridge.
Fort Whoop-Up is an important part of our history and culture, and the City of Lethbridge is committed to continuing the operations of Fort Whoop-Up for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come.
To achieve this, the City recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting prospective service providers to submit proposals for the operation of Fort Whoop-Up beyond 2015. This competitive process is fair and equitable, helping ensure good value for this publicly funded facility.
The current operator, the Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society was notified of the RFP process and invited to submit a proposal.
Recognizing the importance of maintaining a close connection between our First Nations and Fort Whoop-Up, it would be our expectation that the successful proponent demonstrate the ability to maintain strong relationships with the aboriginal community. This link is vital to the future success and growth of Fort Whoop-Up.
The RFP is now closed and all applicants must remain confidential until the process is complete. There were multiple RFP applications received which are now being reviewed and evaluated. The successful operator is expected to be announced early in the New Year.
To date, the City has done a comprehensive inventory of artifacts to determine which are City owned and which are owned by the Society. Notification was sent to the Society informing them that they would have until March 15, 2016 to remove their artifacts should they no longer operate the Fort after the RFP process. At this point the Society has chosen to remove their artifacts from the site.
These artifacts are an important part of our history. Should the Society not be the successful proponent, they would be welcomed and encouraged to work with the new operator to ensure their artifacts remain displayed at Fort Whoop-Up.
Fort Whoop-Up is an integral part of our community and the City of Lethbridge remains dedicated to keeping this vibrant history alive.