The Lower Similkameen Indian Band’s new multi -purpose facility is nearing completion.
The 29,000 square foot, state of the art building, located near the band school approximately six kilometres south of Cawston, will house the band’s administrative, health and fitness facilities. Under construction since August of 2013, the seven million dollar building is being partially funded by Health Canada, to the amount of 2.78 million dollars.
“The outside of the building is almost complete,” said Band Administrative Assistan Jade Jager. She pointed out the facade’s stylized front entrance, supported by 10 metal poles, built to represent a Syilx traditional meeting place.
The facility will house the band’s complete administrative and health care departments. It will also house recreational faciltities in the form of a large gymnasium and wieght room.
The health care facilities are located on the lower floor, and will include traditional healing rooms, two physical examination rooms, a bathing room and two nursing practioner’s offices.
“Our focus will be on wellness and prevention,” said Jager, “many band members will find these facilities more comfortable and accessible.”
The administrative offices occupy most of the building’s second floor. Offices of the chief and council will also be relocated to the new facility.
The full size gymnasium at the site means the band will now be able to host sports tournaments and practices, which Jager said will be economic generators for the whole community. (The LSIB already has a number of skilled athletes, as was witnessed by their recent second place finish at the North American Indigenous Games held in this summer in Regina.) The new gymnasium will provide new opportunities for band athletes to pursue excellence in their sport.
Members of the band were hired during the construction phase by Tri City of Kamloops, general contractors for the site, some of whom have moved on to further training and jobs with other companies. Jager expects that coincident with the band’s move to the new facility, increasing economic development within the band will mean job growth in administration for the band as well.
The building is scheduled for completion in November.