Jeff Peters

Jeff Peters

Kitsumkalum heath centre ready for use

Employees have started moving into the Kitsumkalum First Nation’s new health centre

  • Sep. 9, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Employees have started moving into the Kitsumkalum First Nation’s new health centre.

Keys were officially turned over to the first nation Sept. 6 after a final inspection was held with the project management company.

“It’s a very nice building,” says Kitsumkalum chief councillor Don Roberts of the structure located just past the village’s administration building.

Project management of the 4,423 square foot one-storey facility fell to Vancouver-based Unitech Construction Management with Lubor Trubka Associates Architects handling design and other project responsibilities.

Roberts said the new building is badly needed as health centre and other workers are now housed in trailers which have long ago outlived their usefulness.

“And they were old when we started using them,” he said of the trailers used for accommodation.

In addition to regular health unit staffers, there’ll be space for a visiting dentist and eye specialist.

And there will also be office space for the RCMP’s community policing office.

“Right now they’re in the fire hall,” said Roberts of community policing.

He said the first nation has been lobbying for a new health centre for years because of the inadequate facilities now in use and the growing Kitsumkalum population.

A planned Sept. 18 grand opening has now been postponed so key participants in the building’s construction can be present.

The gentle swooping nature of the roof line is meant to resemble a cedar bridge which once spanned the Kalum River Canyon, said Roberts.

The building isn’t the first Unitech-managed project in the region, says company construction director Brian Parker.

“We are Lower Mainland-based but work all over,” he said listing off the new Kitimat aquatic centre and Northwest Community College’s new Smithers campus building as examples of its northwest presence.

Built on a slab, seven feet of rock was first placed on the site to raise the property above the 100-year flood level.

The building is wood framed with heavy timbers and is equipped with an extensive sprinkler system inside and outside under the eaves.

Security cameras have been installed inside and outside.

Project manager Jeff Peters estimated that close to 25 sub trades were involved with most coming from Terrace and area.