The Tsawwassen First Nation has reason to celebrate, as they officially opened its new q̀əʔis məstiməxʷəwtxʷ youth centre.
The opening, conducted through a virtual celebration on Friday morning, marks another milestone achievement for the TFN.
“Our young people are our future. They needed a place where they felt welcomed and valued,” said swənnəset Chief Ken Baird. “This centre will be a place of learning, nurturing and preparing our youth for becoming our next generation of leadership. This centre will offer both indoor and outdoor activities, a computer lab, games room, an art room, TV room, a community kitchen and large dining area – all spaces that the youth can enjoy together and call their own. This is truly a momentous day for our youth and members. My hands go up to each and every one who made this happen.”
The new youth centre, located at 2287 Tsawwassen Drive, gives the TFN community a home for their youth programs, allowing the creative freedom to expand their physical literacy, artistic, culinary and multimedia programming to better support their youth. The 12,000 square foot building will allow more programs to be offered simultaneously for a variety of age-appropriate groups, and the kitchen, weight room and gym will allow new programs to be offered.
“I offer my sincere congratulations to Chief Baird, Executive Council, the Tsawwassen Legislature and the Tsawwassen First Nation for the grand opening of their new community youth centre,” said Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, on behalf of the Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “This new two-storey building provides space for people to come together, to share experiences and to create memories for generations to come. Funded with a $5 million contribution from the Government of Canada, this project is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work closely together to fund community-specific projects.”
TFN artists Karl Morgan, skiljaday (Merle Williams) and təxʷiləm/Yaahl Iiwaans (former Chief Bryce Williams) contributed artwork on the exterior and interior pole structure as well as on windows, benches, walls and floors to bring some of the community’s culture into the new space.
In 2017, TFN committed to providing a facility for youth to feel at home and excel in their endeavours. To ensure the design reflected their needs, TFN worked closely with young people throughout the development process. Funding was secured through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, the First Peoples' Cultural Council of B.C. and the federal-provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture, and Recreation stream. A particular focus was paid to ecology.
“Local B.C. woods, including Hem Fir mass timber and Western Red cedar, reduce the environmental footprint of the building, ameliorating climate change by sequestering more carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in the building than used to build the structure,” said Dr. Nancy Mackin, the project architect.
Mitzi Dean, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development said the new childcare spaces will provide a culturally rich space for children to learn and grow for many years ahead.“This beautiful new centre is a testament to the power of partnerships, and I look forward to continuing to work with Tsawwassen First Nation to provide inclusive and cultural early learning experiences,” added Dean.