At the official opening of the Tobacco Plains Indian Band’s new administration and health building on Tuesday, youth planted a tree signifying new and continued growth in their community. Turn to page A7 for the full story. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

$3.3m administration and health building to benefit Tobacco Plains

A new multimillion-dollar facility will give a First Nations community south of Fernie room for future growth and more services.

The Tobacco Plains Indian Band is part of the Ktunaxa Nation and located in Grasmere on a reserve spanning 10,600 acres (4290ha) across southeastern B.C. to the U.S. border.

The community will benefit from a new administration and health building, which officially opened on Tuesday.

Construction of the Tobacco Plains Administration and Health Building took about a year and cost $3.3 million.

It was jointly funded by the band, First Nations Health Authority, Columbia Basin Trust, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Teck Coal and B.C. Museums Association.

Band Administrator Tania Brewer said the facility would allow growth for community gathering and health services, and continued services for elders, youth and families within the community.

“The Tobacco Plains Administration and Health Building will provide all services as previously offered,” she said.

“However, with the additional space we will be able to look at growing and creating new programs and services.

“One area, that will grow right away is the youth program as we now have a larger hall for youth activities.”

About 100 people attended the grand opening of the building on Tuesday, which featured a blessing, the planting of a tree, a ribbon cutting and a tour of the facility.

On August 3, 2017, the Tobacco Plains band broke ground at the new facility. Dirt kept from the groundbreaking ceremony was used at the grand opening to plant a new tree atop the hill overlooking the new facility.

This new tree represents the ongoing growth of the Tobacco Plains community.

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Tobacco Plains Indian Band Chief Mary Mahseelah cuts the ribbon signifying the official opening of the Tobacco Plains Administration and Health Building. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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