Design of the Skeetchestn Health & Wellness Facility
SKEETCHESTIN – On June 29 the Skeetchestn Band and community celebrated a highly anticipated ground breaking ceremony on the site of a proposed new Health and Wellness Centre. Attendees included community members, Chief and council, health staff and the First Nations Health Authority.
“The health centre is key to attaining our community’s vision of ensuring a healthy community in which especially our Elders and youth will have culturally sensitive and timely health care without leaving home,” said Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace.
The new facility will house Skeetchstn’s nursing, mental health, Children’s Oral health (COHI) services and more. Located along Highway 1, within Skeetchestn’s traditional territory the health centre will be a part of a new development that will include Elders Housing, assisted care housing, a new Band Office, as well as residential, commercial and recreational amenities.
“The First Nations Health Authority is honoured to support the creation of this health facility and the delivery of health programs and services closer to home for Skeetchestn and the surrounding area,” said FNHA Chief Operating Officer Richard Jock. “Community-designed health centres and health services contribute to our vision of Healthy, Self-determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities.”
The design of the building was guided by Skeetchestn’s concept of a u-shaped form and will feature local historical artefacts on display for the public. The new building is almost twice the size of the former health centre built in 2004 and responds to the growing health needs of the community.
“This is an exciting time for all of us. Planning for this building has been in the works since 2000, so to finally see it become reality is truly exciting,” said Health Director Colleen Lessmann. “This community is a long way from the closest medical services and this building will allow us to bring services to them. Today we are very grateful!”
The left wing will contain rooms for health treatment and the right wing (south) will house staff areas and rooms for additional treatment services. Sunshades are incorporated into the building form to shade the building during the summer months to respond to the local climate. The First Nations Health Authority has committed $3 million towards the project.