Katzie First Nation has announced plans to build a new treatment centre in Maple Ridge.
The new centre is to be located in a secluded, forested area, along the Alouette River, neighbouring the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women. The location which is off reserve, is called Camp Lakewood.
It will offer holistic land base healing and cultural ceremonies. There will be a six-week inpatient residential program with 10 beds for men and 10 beds for women. There will be a 24/7 onsite primary care medical support, 24/7 access to qualified front line staff and an integrated case management team, and 24/7 Elder-in-residence.
There will be: addiction and PTSD treatment programs; family and parenting programs; withdrawal and detox with readiness assessments onsite; a life skills program; restorative justice program; trauma informed focus; family resolution and re-integration supports; continuing after care support for two years after attending the program; and outreach support withing the region.
The objective and goal of the healing centre will be to reconnect people to the land while utilizing supports to relearn, revitalize, and reclaim traditional Indigenous wellness practices during the healing process.
“We have an opportunity to create meaningful change and address the barriers that exist in our Region and Province with addressing addiction/trauma/opioid crisis and epidemic,” said Katzie First Nation Chief Grace George.
“Katzie First Nation has extensive capacity and development experience,” she added, noting that the First Nation has also established meaningful partnerships throughout the province with collaborative support from their regional partners who have been working collectively on this initiative.
George applied to have the healing centre in the community in June 2021 after an Expressions of Interest process was requested by the First Nations Health Authority for the Fraser Salish Region. First Nations or organizations serving First Nations were asked to submit an application if they were able to operate and maintain the proposed 20-bed healing centre in the region.
George said after a “long” process with many presentations with the Healing Centre Advisory Panel, Katzie First Nation was the only successful applicant out of six to be invited to develop a Proposal of Concept that was submitted on Sept. 10, 2021.
She said after presenting to the Fraser Salish Working Group in September and October, their application was moved to the final stage of approval in January where the working group voted in favour of the Katzie First Nation’s proposal concept. The green light has now been given to them to develop a business plan and to work alongside the First Nations Health Council in the next steps going forward.
This concept for a healing centre does not exist in the Fraser Region, noted George.
“We will provide culturally safe and supportive space for healing. The program will offer a holistic approach that provides a continuum of services that incorporates physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements of healing and growth,” she said.
The use of this land for this purpose was voted on in the Land Use Plan on September 2019. That initial community support was what allowed the Katzie First Nation council to pursue this vision, George explained.
“Elders from years ago have been wanting to see us use our land for this purpose. So here we are, a vision becoming a reality, all while creating legacy for healing for many,” she noted.
As progress continues with the centre, Katzie community members and elders will be meeting on an ongoing basis and George will be meeting with “various political bodies” while continuing the planning work at regional tables.
A date for construction has not been set yet. George noted that they are currently creating their business plan and will know more in the months to come.
Katzie First Nation community engagement is expected to commence in the spring.
Chief George noted the strength of the Katzie First Nation, a community that has proven “to have the capability to sustain growth and various forms of development to support building partnerships, accessing funding, creating societies to oversee projects, and so much more.”
“We would be honoured to dedicate our lands to such a healing purpose for all those who reside within our region and or province. We pride ourselves in the process of recovery, healing, strengthening family systems, and witnessing the journey of not only recovery due to addictions but also the journey of holistic wellness,” George added.