The city’s recently-passed Safe Streets bylaw highlights the need for services for those living with addictions and experiencing homelessness.
One of those services could be a proposed healing/treatment centre at Tachick Lake, according to Carrier Sekani Family Services, which is seeking funds to get the facility built.
To date less than $6 million has been committed by the First Nations Health Authority towards the $16 million facility. Carrier Sekani Family Services as been in discussions with the federal government, provincial government and the First Nations Health Authority to secure the needed funding.
Chief Corrina Leween, CSFS board president, says she is frustrated by the lack of financial commitment from both levels of government.
“CSFS had provided government with data on the opioid and mental health crisis; instead CSFS was told to wait for the completion of government budget estimates,” said Leween. “Now, CSFS is caught up in a federal election. It further annoying that governments commit billions to public infrastructure, yet will not invest in Indigenous health facilities.”
An increasingly toxic drug supply has led to Indigenous people dying from toxic drugs at a much higher rate compared to other B.C. residents, she said. In 2020, 14.7 per cent of all toxic drug deaths in B.C. were Indigenous people – a group that represents only 3.3 per cent of BC’s total population.
“With the eventual development of a holistic Healing/Treatment Centre on Tachick Lake (a newly-acquired property located on the traditional territory of the Saik’uz First Nation, and targeted specifically for this purpose), CSFS will be able to greatly increase the support so sorely needed by many of the people currently suffering on the streets of Prince George, and other communities across B.C.,” she said. “Our approach will include detox, cultural and western treatment modalities and aftercare.”
CSFS seeks to expand its addictions recovery program from a seasonal service to an all-year round service.
Next steps for the healing/treatment centre project will include fundraising for the remaining funds needed to begin construction of the facility and then moving to the design phase of the construction process.
Carrier Sekani Family Services is making a public appeal for this Indigenous-led facility to be wholly funded.
CSFS serves a predominantly Indigenous clientele from local Carrier and Sekani Nations. This project is crucial to removing barriers to health services and making progress toward fundamental objectives of improved health and wellbeing for Indigenous peoples.