Xatśūll First Nation in B.C. hopes to bring in tourists with opening of old restaurant


Xatśūll First Nation in the interior of B.C. says it’s hoping to bring in tourist dollars by investing in a multi-million dollar project that includes reopening an historic gas station and restaurant.

Kúkpi7 Sheri Sellars says the band will renovate the Soda Creek Emporium.

“We would like to re-invigorate Soda Creek again and start to bring things back to there; we’re just trying to do it phase by phase to get that completed, but it’s just been so quiet down there, and that’s not a normal community to not have that hub opened up and us gathering in different ways,” she says.

In partnership with the Xatśūll Development Corp., the band will spend $3.8 million for the site to reopen.

It will also include a seasonal museum and electric car charging stations.

It was the mother of Kúkpi7 Sheri Sellars, Dorren Sellars, who was behind the building of the Soda Creek Emporium restaurant in the 1970s.

The restaurant is where many of the young people in the community received their first jobs.

“There is a lot of us younger generation that did the simpler jobs like the bussing and dishwashing,” says Sheri Sellars. “So it got us involved in the back a little bit, and that is where I as well ended up going to school for cook training.”

The nation believes there will be plenty of reasons for tourists to visit.

The Xatśūll Heritage Village is located near the Soda Creek Emporium, and the nation developed nine hiking/mountain bike trails in the area in 2016.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.