Charles Nelson, Snuneymuxw health administrator and Regan Seward, Snuneymuxw councillor, show designs for a new health centre that’s coming to Cedar. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Snuneymuxw ready to break ground on new Cedar health centre

An expanded health centre could provide service to the general public

Snuneymuxw First Nation is set to break ground on a multi-million dollar health centre in Cedar this fall.

The Snuneymuxw, with funding from the First Nations Health Authority, plan to build a $3-million facility that’s designed to include services like a drop-in medical clinic to a pharmacy, lab and dentist office that could be open to the general public.

Plans also include a special room for elders, a community health space and a multi-purpose room for play therapy, as well as the ability to expand in the future. It will be located adjacent to MacMillan Road on IR No. 4.

Band councillor Regan Seward said it was the dream of some of their elders who have died to see this, that the centre is a new venture for health staff and creating economic development for the community with the the lab, dental and pharmacy services present.

“It’s been a long time coming for our nation,” he said, pointing out the current building location on Nanaimo’s Centre Street was a second choice and eliminated 50-60 feet of space for the health centre when it was built in 1999. Within the first year, he said the building was outgrown.

This building is 8,400 square feet, more than triple the size of the current centre. Construction is expected to start within the next four weeks and be complete in the spring or summer next year.

“The way I see it is it provides the service that [Snuneymuxw] deserve, something they’ve wished for for many years. To be a part of this community they are creating a community themselves, I would say,” said Charles Nelson, Snuneymuxw health administrator.

Nelson said going off-reserve to receive services is difficult for community members who are not always treated kindly and the difference of having a centre on reserve is that physicians want to be there.

Brennan MacDonald, the First Nations Health Authority’s regional director for Vancouver Island, said the project supports priorities heard from the nation, and the other nations on the Island, which is bringing services closer to home.

“The services that are delivered by our communities tend to be delivered by individuals who know and understand our people and that service tends to come from a place that is informed by our values and practices and the service will also be a very culturally safe service and an appropriate service,” she said, adding she thinks Snuneymuxw has done an incredible job of working in partnership with other providers to bring an assortment of services and create a primary care home within the health clinic.

She’s excited, she said, about the future of Snuneymuxw as the leadership works to build infrastructure needed to bring services closer to home and she knows benefits will extend beyond health and wellness impacts to opportunities for training, capacity development and employment within the Snuneymuxw territory.

A planner will help Nelson map the business side of the new facility like job training for Snuneymuxw members and what a drop-in clinic would look like, and the nation will decide in a referendum next year if they want to lease out portions of the building to include public services for Cedar and Nanaimo.

“There’s a good population out in Cedar, about 8,000 people,” said Nelson, who notes there is room for more services. “So we’re looking at how we can provide more services and making it an opportunity for Snuneymuxw not only to get better service but also offer it to the general public at the same time.”



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Downtown Nanaimo hotel project moving forward

PEG Development submitted an updated permit application for a proposed hotel at 100 Gordon St.

VIDEO: International Day of Peace activities planned in Nanaimo

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo planning public walk, labyrinth dedication Sept. 21-22

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Last cruise ship of the season stops in Harbour City

Explorer of the Seas port call is the fifth visit to Nanaimo by a cruise ship this year

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Porsche and Subaru dealerships can proceed with planning in north Nanaimo

City council unanimously allows rezoning application process to move forward

Tofino Bus launches shipping service to replace Greyhound across Vancouver Island

Affordable, same day and next day freight options are available as Greyhoubd Package Express ends

First Nations block roads to stop the moose hunt in B.C.’s Interior

Chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Thursday they’ve deactivated the Raven Lake Road and the Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff

‘Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie’: Birds fall dead from the sky in B.C. city

Raptor expert says he’s never seen it happen anywhere in the Lower Mainland

Canada signs global pact to help rid world’s oceans of abandoned fishing gear

The federal Fisheries Minister says it’s a ‘critical issue’

GOP pushing forward for Kavanaugh, accuser wants ‘fairness’

Kavanaugh has denied al allegations of sexual misconduct

Nanaimo’s Boxwood Road to get temporary traffic-calming measures

Staff still looking at best ways to slow down traffic on connector

Most Read