Members of the Tobacco Plains Indian Band will soon have a safe and welcoming space where they can access services and come together. Yesterday was an important day as the community and supporters gathered to break ground for a new Community Administration & Health Centre, funded in part by $500,000 from Columbia Basin Trust.

“We’ve been working closely with First Nations communities to understand their needs and see how we can support them,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer.

“This centre will have immediate positive impact for the Tobacco Plains community.”

With construction estimated to cost about $3.2 million, the new building will combine several amenities that currently don’t exist or are scattered in smaller, outdated locations. It will house the Band administration, a health centre, meeting spaces and a gymnasium, giving the community a place to gather and interact, play sports, exercise and access wellness facilities. It will enable the Band administration to increase services and programming, plus the building will display cultural artifacts and designs. It will also offer new employment opportunities and training space.

“The Tobacco Plain’s Community Administration & Health Center is the Band’s first true community building,” said Nasukin Mary Mahseelah, Tobacco Plains Indian Band.

“It will create an opportunity for the administration to support membership and the community in their goals to create and improve services geared toward health and wellness, employment and training, and cultural heritage.”

In addition to the Band and the Trust, other contributors include the First Nations Health Authority, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the BC Museums Association. Construction should be complete and facilities in use by late spring 2018.