Meeting room at the new Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre in Burns Lake. A similar room is being planned for the new Mills Memorial Hospital here. The design on the floor represents a medicine wheel, a traditional symbol for health and healing embodying the four directions as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree. (Photo courtesy Burns Lake District News)

New Mills to have quiet space for family, friends

Quiet spaces now standard in new hospital construction

The new Mills Memorial Hospital is going to have a standalone space in it where friends and families of patients can gather quietly.

And while Northern Health Authority official Andrea Palmer says it’s too early yet for details as to size and amenities, such a space is now standard in new facilities constructed over the past several years.

“The Mills Memorial Hospital replacement will include space that supports the cultural practices of the diverse communities we serve,” she said adding it has similar spaces at new hospitals in Burns Lake and on Haida Gwaii.

“We will be engaging with local Indigenous leaders and community members throughout the process as we move through the design and construction process,” Palmer said.

READ MORE: Terrace hospital business plan approved

Northern Health has also struck a local committee to give advice on community preferences.

The Burns Lake District Hospital, for example, has a room marked “sacred space” where family and friends of patients can gather.

Right now, family and friends of patients at Mills can gather in the Vera Henry Education Room and there is a much smaller room off of the open area where the elevators are located.

Lynn Parker, the Kermode Friendship Centre’s cultural sensitivity and decolonization coordinator, says a quiet space will be welcomed.

“For Indigenous people coming to the hospital, for elders and chiefs, it’s a sign of respect for the person and for the family,” she said.

“A space for last rites, for ceremonies, for smudging, is important. And a spot for refreshments, people will bring food.”

Sometimes people will gather in hallways, a situation Parker acknowledges isn’t ideal for the family and for the hospital.

And speaking from a personal experience, Parker said a quiet space would have been appreciated.

“There were people from all over — Gitsequecla, Greenville — there were quite a few. They lined the halls,” she said.

And as much as Parker said a place for Indigenous people is important, the same is true for other groups in the region.

“I know a lot of people will come from out of town to pay their respects. Everyone should have a space when needed. When you think of the size of the northwest region, that’s important.”

READ MORE: New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

As far as progress leading toward a construction start for the new Mills, which will cost upwards of $450 million, Northern Health and provincial authorities are now examining submissions.

That’s leading this month to choosing a short list of qualified proponents with a preferred proponent to be selected next August and a final contract to be signed next October.

The contract includes the demolition of the current Seven Sisters mental health residential facility to make room for the new Mills and the construction of its replacement.

The Seven Sisters replacement will need to be finished and residents moved over before demolition can take place and actual construction of the new Mills start.

Northern Health is also setting up a local project office and has started recruiting for that function.

Northern Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horgan makes campaign stop in Terrace and Kitimat

BC NDP leader met with local First Nations leaders, reiterated campaign promises

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Ecosocialists nominate candidate for Stikine

Edward Quinlan is the new party’s regional director for Skeena and Bulkley Valley regions

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read