The Town of Qualicum Beach council wants other municipalities to help the Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society build a new Indigenous healing centre in Cowichan.
Coun. Scott Harrison said due to COVID-19, the building cost has significantly escalated and impacted the society’s budget for the project, which will require $5 million to build.
Harrison made a successful motion to council recently to award the society a $5,000 funding from its COVID Safe Restart Grant.
“They’re hopeful that the province might be able to step up and help out,” said Harrison. “At present, I don’t believe the province has but I was thinking if we could start getting a few municipalities together with a smaller amount. I think $5,000 is relatively small given what we spend. That might provide a little bit of impetus too, for the province to come to the table with more significant funding as this is something that does provide a lot of support.”
The society’s Helping House, which has been based in Lantzville for more than three decades, provided support services to Aboriginal people all over Vancouver Island including the Town of Qualicum Beach. They have been leasing the land from the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation for 35 years, and the lease will expire in August 2022.
The new residential treatment facility will be located on Cowichan First Nation territory, south of Miller Road. It will feature 16 rooms and have 32 beds.
They will continue to provide counselling and cultural support, a 40-day intensive residential program grounded in Aboriginal culture and tradition, a trauma-focused second stage recovery program, counselling and support services to former students of residential schools and their families.
The society, a non-profit organization, is still fundraising for their new centre. There is a GoFundMe campaign, at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/support-for-residential-school-survivors, and an email to accept Interac e-transfers, at firstname.lastname@example.org, has been set up to accept donations to the centre.