This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development
A true showcase of a community’s strength is revealed when they are faced with adversity — for Ashcroft, B.C. last year’s wildfires tested theirs.
The devastation from the B.C. wildfires took a lot from the community of Ashcroft, but it did not take away their resilience and fortitude to move past the tragic events. Looking to build upon that same strength displayed by the community and to promote healing and growth, the Ashcroft Indian Band sought to build a gathering space for the members of the community.
“I think this project represents how resilient our community is,” said Jodene Blain, band administrator, Ashcroft Indian Band. “We could have left things as they were after the fires, but we choose to move forward from it. As we continue to move on in terms of economic development for our community, the gathering space is going to play a big part in that journey.”
The gathering space project was proposed to act as a place where members of the community could get together and help each other heal. It would also allow the Ashcroft Indian Band to utilize the space commercially, which will contribute to the growth of the local economy through having a rentable space — something they had been lacking previously.
“It just was not logistically possible to hold events, meetings and community gatherings here before,” said Blain. “Now, we will have a big, inviting space that people can use and one that we will be able to rent out for different occasions. The Village of Ashcroft and the school board have already shown interest in renting out the space when it becomes available.”
The new gathering space will serve as a community hall, where community members can share meals, participate in game nights, attend wellness events, host community meetings and promote healing within the community. The Ashcroft Indian Band hopes this will bring the community together and help it become stronger than ever.
“It’s a new start for the community in a way,” said Blain. “We were knocked down a bit, but this shows we are moving forward. This project is going to be an exciting piece in our community and it is going to demonstrate that we are rebuilding through the trauma of the wildfires and moving forward together.”
The Skeetchestn Indian Band generously donated the round-house kit to the Ashcroft Indian Band, which includes the structural framework of a round building and will serve as the foundation for the new gathering space. With $30,000 in approved funding support from Northern Development provided through the Community Halls and Recreation program, the project is well on its way to completion this summer.
“The funding support from Northern Development really helped the project get off the ground,” said Blain. “Without the support, I don’t think this project could have moved forward. I think this will have a very positive impact on our community. It has brought us all together and is something we are all looking forward to as a community.”
The Ashcroft Indian Band hopes the new gathering space will serve as a community hall, where community members can share meals, participate in game nights, attend wellness events, host community meetings, provide hall rentals and promote healing within the community.