Construction for a $1.4-million daycare centre at Abegweit First Nation is underway.
The First Nation has been offering daycare services at their Mawi'omi (ceremonial gathering) centre for years, which holds about 20 to 25 kids.
The new daycare centre is projected to accommodate more than 30 children, according to Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould.
"We're very proud of that as there's a lot of work and effort over years to bring it up to a professional standard of a building, because we already have the service provided for the daycare service through a provincial contract with the province," he said.
"We're trying to provide a very professional environment."
The funding for the centre came from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, which is a health service under Indigenous Service Canada.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, using the Mawi'omi centre for daycare services has been challenging because of its maximum capacity, Gould said.
"Right now, they're all crowded in an existing temporary building in the basement. There's no space for the children to be in a safe environment, let alone accommodate any of the regulations under the six-foot rule."
For the past 20 years, Abegweit First Nation had been lobbying to build a daycare centre, Gould said.
"The bureaucratic chain has been churning for years and years," he said.
"The problem with that is that we've established an accredited health centre which provided the base foundation for an accredited service under the provincial license agreement."
Daycare is a key investment
The First Nation's Mawi'omi centre will return to being a ceremonial ground, and include more community services, Gould said.
"We're trying to provide services in every capacity, and we've identified our mental wellness team as needing a space to provide a youth service for a drop-in and a safe place. That's one of the things we're gonna get up and running there."
A daycare is a good investment in children — and the community's future, Gould said.
"I think it's a very vital part of the foundation for moving the community forward in every aspect."
The building is anticipated to be completed late December.