Moving to Higher Ground

Rhonda Lee McIsaac

The hillside adjacent to the Council of the Haida Nation building and behind Taaw Naay Gas Station and the Skidegate Band Council office has changed dramatically. About 2 hectares of forest have cleared to make way for the new 9435 square foot XaaydaGa Dlaang Society building.

Excavators have been on site for a couple months and are ‘grubbing and clearing’ the site for a new longhouse-style wellness building which will serve the HlGaagilda community. The site for the Wellness Centre footprint is being cleared to get ready for an April tender process. The rest of the site will have stumps piled until the ground dries and they can be removed. All marketable timber has been delivered to Taan sort. Infrastructure is hoped to begin construction in June or July.

The existing Health Centre building was constructed in 1998, with an addition in 2015. With expanding services and programs, the need to move out of the tsunami inundation zone was important.

Health Director, Lauren Brown, has had the vision to move health services into a larger longhouse-style building and away from the Tsunami zone for a while. Along with the new building will be an innovative approach to delivering health care in HlGaagilda. Unison Architecture’s preliminary design has been approved, as has the preliminary survey and archeological assessment of the land –  completed before clearing began.

In the new facility, the client will be at the centre of services and programs, says Office Manager, Mary Kellie. This client-centred approach will inform all services and programs, and the building design will facilitate a healthy mix of community socialization in the spirit of wellness while acknowledging and addressing illnesses within the community. The building will have areas for privacy, recovery, as well as quiet spaces. Staff requirements will also be met by a design that encourages teamwork, unity, and integration.

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