Pond Inlet searches for money to finish wellness centre

·3 min read

The Hamlet of Pond Inlet is looking to open the doors of a new wellness centre where people can access remote counselling and programs for young mothers, but is still searching for $100,000 to complete the project.

People in the hamlet can already access the counselling service, which gives people the chance to develop a relationship with one counsellor, says Pond Inlet’s chief administrative officer, Dave Stockley. The wellness centre will give them a private place to do it.

The kitchen inside the wellness centre will be used for pre-natal programs, such as cooking classes, said Pond Inlet chief administrative officer Dave Stockley. (Photo by David Venn)

“Over a three-, four-year period, [patients] may have to tell their story five or six times because the counsellors have changed,” Stockley said. “There’s nothing worse than having to tell the same story to five or six or 10 counsellors.”

The hamlet has contracted Northern Counselling and Therapeutic Services to supply counsellors, with funding mainly provided through the Department of Family Services.

The room at the wellness centre will be able to fit a family if necessary, and will have a TV in it for video calls. Residents can also access counselling through email or text messaging.

The 2,400-square-foot building, located close to the health and visitor’s centre, will also have office space, bathrooms, a lounge and food storage area and a kitchen.

It will also provide a space for the hamlet’s other wellness programs, which include a weekly gathering for elders, sewing programs, on-the-land activities and prenatal programming, Stockley said.

New and expecting mothers will be able to go to the wellness centre Tuesday evenings with their kids to socialize and cook meals, he said. Residents will then leave with food to cook the same meal at home.

Stockley says the hamlet is hoping to have the wellness centre up and running by the beginning of July, if it can get enough money to finish the project.

The hamlet has already spent $500,000, which comes from the Department of Community and Government Services gas tax fund, but needs about $100,000 more to finish it up.

The Department of Community and Government Services rejected an additional proposal for the extra money, because the hamlet had already received the maximum amount out of that pot of money for the year, and was told to apply next year.

“That’s the only problem sometimes with government programs — everything’s got to fit in a box,” Stockley said in an interview. “It’s frustrating.”

Now, he said, the hamlet is trying to shore up the rest of the money through private donors.

“What we’d have to do is close the building and wait till next year,” said Stockley.

“A year for $100,000 is a bit much when you’re talking that type of facility.”

Representatives from the Department of Community and Government Services could not be reached for comment.

David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News

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