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Tl’etinqox First Nation celebrates new daycare centre

The centre will have capacity for 64 children from infant to after-school care

A First Nation community in the Chilcotin has a brand new daycare centre.

“Only a small percentage of First Nations across B.C. and Canada would have such a facility for a daycare,” said Tl’etinqox First Nation Chief Joe Alphonse.

“It is a big, beautiful building that coincides with our school and with our colour theme.”

After hosting a building naming contest, The Raven’s Nest was chosen.

The raven has strong symbolism in the Tsilhqot’in culture, Alphonse said.

Built by Zirnhelt Timber Frames from 150 Mile House, the daycare building is 5,500 square feet with a capacity to host 64 children from infants to after-school care.

Sam Zirnhelt said a natural playground was a key focus including: log cabins, greenhouse, arbour, underground/pit house, covered sandbox, covered bridge and tunnels.

“It has an energy-efficient envelope to minimize operating costs and heated and cooled by cold-climate heat pumps,” Zirnhelt said.

Alphonse said there was a good turnout for the opening.

“The community is pretty proud.”

Last winter leadership hoped to do the grand opening, but it was before elections so everything was halted.

There are a few more details to be completed before the daycare opens for children, such as becoming fully-registered with the provincial government.

“It’s one thing to build such a facility but you also have to develop a plan to pay for it and keep the operation moving. We are in that process now,” Alphonse said.

Tl’etinqox received funding to cover building it and in the long run it will facilitate a lot of the community’s values, he added, noting it will give parents the ability to continue to work and empower women.

Next up the community will celebrate opening its off-the-grid horse equestrian centre presently under construction.

It will probably be finished this summer and will also be used for education purposes and ministry of children and family activities.

Alphonse said the community is also developing a bid for a cultural centre in the community.

“We have a lot going on and a lot of development in our community. That’s the end result of the community deciding to stay with steady leadership over time.”

Projects take time, he added.

The daycare was a three-year process from proposal to development to having children in the facility.

Tl’etinqox’s population is 45 per cent of the entire Tsilhqot’in Nation and Alphonse said he hopes the new daycare will give First Nation children a good start as anywhere else in the province.

“I’m grateful for all the government representatives who showed up for our grand opening. Most times it is large urban centres that get this type of funding.”

READ MORE: Daycare approved to be built at Tl’etinqox First Nation

READ MORE: 19th annual Tl’etinqox horse and bike ride departs June 25 en route to Williams Lake

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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