March 24, 2020
The exterior of the new community gathering space. Photo credit: Ashcroft Indian Band
In 2018, Northern Development approved $30,000 for the Ashcroft Indian Band to develop a community gathering space after the 2017 Elephant Hill Wildfire, which caused numerous homes and buildings to be lost. We took some time to talk with Chief Greg Blain and Jodene Blain, band administrator, to learn what their new gathering space means for the community following the emotional and physical toll of the 2017 wildfires.
Q:The roundhouse kit for your community gathering space was thoughtfully donated by Skeetchestn Indian Band, a neighbouring community. Can you describe how this generosity uplifted your band following the devastation of the Elephant Hill Wildfire?
A It was such a kind gesture and we are extremely grateful and proud to have one of their beautiful buildings in our community. This building represents a positive step in our rebuilding is a sign that we bounced back and our resilient.
Q: Can you illustrate to the readers what the roundhouse is like?
A: It is everything we hoped it would be and more, we are thrilled with how it turned out. It ties in so nicely with the vision we have for our community alongside our new seniors complex. It is such a unique design and we thought long and hard over all the details such as the stain for the beams and colors through out to make sure it is warm and inviting for our community and will be used to host a large number of events and we are already booking up for the spring and summer.
Inside the roundhouse.
Q: It’s been almost six months since the roundhouse celebrated its grand opening. How have people in the community made use of the space? What are some important programs or events that have been held in the new facility?
A: We are just about to hold a community to community forum with the Village of Ashcroft and we have used it to deliver hampers to our community and although the construction took longer then we expected, we are thrilled to use the facility this spring and summer to hold our summer reading camps, community lunches, movie nights, among other things.
Q: Looking to the future, what role do you think the roundhouse will have within your community and the surrounding area?
A: This building will be our new community and healing centre and will be used to host most of our community events as well as more formal meetings with our partners and neighboring communities.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: We would just like to thank Northern Development for their funding which made this building possible and it is such an amazing addition to our community and an important symbol of resiliency and new beginnings after the wildfire.
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