Skip to content

Xeni Gwet’in First Nation receives government funding to build new community care centre

The funding was announced by federal, provincial ministers
Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Chief Jimmy Lulua. (Photo submitted)

Xeni Gwet’in First Nation will be constructing a community care centre after receiving almost $5 million in federal and provincial funding.

The centre will include a gathering space, meeting rooms, kitchen, solar farm and other amenities.

“It is incredible news and much needed,” said Chief Jimmy Lulua Monday. “Nemiah has not had a new building since the 1980s other than our health building.”

Lulua said when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Tsilhqot’in rights and title area in 2018 he saw first hand that Xeni Gwet’in did not have much for a meeting space.

“It’s a good thing he saw that for himself,” Lulua said.

Lulua’s wife June wrote the funding proposal for the community centre and a friend of theirs drew up a design to submit with the application.

Now that the funding has been announced and the funds will be released, Lulua said leadership will begin community engagement.

“It will take three years from start to finish. Next year you will start seeing the building going up and on the final year will be for all the finishing and furnishings going in.”

The centre’s design will reflect the Tsilhqot’in culture, he added.

“That’s one of our community priorities. We just finished a strategic plan and have been talking about how we can improve our spaces to represent us in our culture and ceremonies. Our destiny is in our own hands. We are following our ancestors’ footsteps but we are also creating our own path. Future generations will come behind us and see what we’ve done and how we have evolved over time.”

Xeni Gwet’in’s project was one of 57 infrastructure projects approved for funding from the federal and provincial government.

Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and Nathan Cullen, MLA for Skeena and Minister of Municipal Affairs announced the funding Monday, April 11.

Lulua said it is exciting to see projects being realized.

“Our community will start seeing change - finally. It takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication and a great team. I have a great team at home. From financial all the way to the janitor — everyone plays a part in the community.”

The new centre will be a positive addition to the community and provide a bigger place to gather.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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.
Read more