SIOUX VALLEY DAKOTA NATION - The community of Sioux Valley broke ground for its first major community infrastructure project in two decades Friday afternoon.
The new $1.5-million community centre will serve several purposes, helping to alleviate the lack of usable space for programming the community is experiencing
"We’re pretty excited," Chief Jennifer Bone said.
Prior to moving forward with a plan, program managers were consulted on what the community needed.
"One of the things that came up on most of their lists was a community or resource centre." Bone said. "So it’s nice to see this groundbreaking today."
The new building is the tangible result of the 2019 federal collaborative self-government fiscal policy for 25 self-governing First Nations, which states that it is "intended to provide a principled approach to fiscal relations with all Indigenous Governments in a manner that is consistent with the commitments made in self-government agreements and modern treaties."
Further, the policy’s goal is to ensure ongoing and sufficient fiscal resources are available to provide comparable public services and to close gaps in physical, social, cultural and human capital.
And, as Bone put it, the community centre covers both an infrastructure gap and a social well-being gap.
"We actually had to do a gap-closing plan," she said. "We had to identify in our community how we would spend those funds to address the gaps."
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) approved the plan.
Dakota Tiwahe Services Inc., in its second year of operation, needs space. The child and family services-like agency runs parenting courses, life skills, SMART recovery and other wrap-around services. Wrap-around services imply a child and family-driven approach to developing strategies.
"They are focused on prevention services, working to keep our children out of care. They work with families, strengthening families," Bone said.
The health centre, which also runs programming, is busting at the seams.
The building, with a roof section reminiscent of a teepee, will contain office spaces, a conference centre and a kitchen. Aside from programming, various agencies will run training.
"We recently did training for all our program managers and leadership and we held it at the Veterans Hall. It’s a big open hall, the acoustics aren’t very good, and it’s cold in there in the wintertime. So we’ll use (the centre) for training, as well," Bone said, adding there will also be a boardroom, and space for family visits and youth activities.
Scott Phillips, project manager for the First Nation, said work will begin Tuesday, with completion scheduled for September. He says it took four-to-five months to get from initial drawing to this day.
"To make sure we had the right design, after meeting with the community, the right location. … We put a lot of thought into it, the reasoning," he said.
"It’s not just get a building to build it."
Phillips also made the point the building will result in employment for community members.
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