Parksville’s Family Place had its grand opening Thursday, inaugurated by officials from the partners involved and followed by a tour.
The ceremony began with a blessing from Elder in Residence Jessie Demerse, followed by speeches from MLA for Parksville-Qualicum Ron Cantelon, Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux, VIHA board chair Don Hubbard and Qualicum School District board chair Lynette Kershaw.
Cantelon thanked all those who supported the project and said having a large family himself, he understands its advantages.
“Even though I have five children myself I’m always mindful of the fact that no manuals are provided when you’re presented with children,” he said. “It’s a wonderful, great experience but helping and guidance is often needed along the way.”
Cadieux said the idea for the new facility came from members of the community to create a multi-use facility that is convenient for busy working families to get things done.
“Seems kind of simple,” she said, “it’s surprising it doesn’t happen more often.”
The new building will house a public health nurse, pre and post-natal support, First Nations programs and support services for parents, children and youth. This is where parents will take children for routine immunizations, gather information on things like nutrition, dental hygiene and disease prevention. It’s also the home of a new Munchkinland Discovery Centre, a learning-through-play environment that features things like mini cars, a tool centre, and a mini kitchen, among other play areas.
The $7.1 million dollar project was B.C. Government funded, and developed through a partnership between the B.C. Government, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Qualicum school district.
The two-story building meets LEED gold standard requirements and has many energy efficient features.