School overcrowding, safe drinking water and a wellness treatment recovery centre are the three main issues Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson presented to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit in Saskatoon.
Cook-Searson, who was invited to the meeting Wednesday by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, only had a minute-and-a-half to address Trudeau in regards to the three topics. Her largest request was for $15.45 million from the federal government, which will be used to construct a $21 million wellness treatment centre.
“Our band already has $2 million in the bank we set aside that our health board was able to do from their appropriated surplus,” Cook-Searson said, adding the provincial government will also be asked for financial assistance. “We’ve also committed to fundraising $1.6 million through fundraising efforts in the community and corporate sponsors.”
The treatment centre would be built adjacent to the Jeannie Bird Clinic, as Cook-Searson noted the land is already prepared for water, sewer and natural gas services. She added the building will include a 10-bed in-patient facility, as well as an Olympic-sized swimming pool to be used by clients and members of the public. A staff member with the LLRIB has also been assigned to work on the treatment centre full-time.
Meanwhile, Cook-Searson also requested temporary portables for Bell’s Point School to relieve overcrowding. She stated the elementary school is in need of an expansion as the library and mini-gym are currently being used as classroom space.
“It’s taking a long time even to get temporary portables for now,” Cook-Searson said.
As for safe drinking water at Little Red River reserve, Cook-Searson noted it’s important something is done because there are too many boil water advisories for the community. She added the water is currently so harsh, it’s hard on equipment like water tanks and pumps.
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