Tk'emlups healing centre to be built on former Harper Ranch property | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tk'emlups healing centre to be built on former Harper Ranch property

A Tk'emlups healing centre is expected to be built along the South Thompson River.

The $12.5 million project is meant to provide a cultural space for Indian residential school survivors and their families, but will also include housing and an Elders' lodge on part of the former Harper Ranch, according to Thompson Nicola Regional District planning documents.

Funding for the healing centre was confirmed by the federal government earlier this year. Tk'emlups leadership pressed for support in the wake of finding the remains of 215 graves near the Kamloops Indian Residential School in May 2021.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the government would help fund the healing centre in October 2021 during a visit to Tk'emlups te Secwepemc, with the announcement of $12.5 million following more than a year later.

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"It will support healing for our survivors and those impacted by Kamloops Indian Residential School, leading to healthier futures for our children and those not yet born," Tk'emlups Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said in a previous news release announcing the funding allocation.

The announcement didn't include a location or detailed planning documents at the time.

The healing centre plan includes private counselling rooms, space for ceremonies and art and music therapy space. It will also include exercise and weight rooms, physiotherapy spaces and outdoor walking paths, according to planning documents.

It's to be built at 844 Miner Road. It's not currently part of reserve land, but it is owned by the Band corporation, Spiyu7ullucw Ranch Corp.

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Planning documents will be provided to a regional district committee, notifying it of the Band's plans to use the property for non-farm use as it is currently on agriculturally zoned land.

One existing building on the property was once used by a caretaker, but it will be demolished as part of the healing centre construction.

Although it's not currently part of the reserve, the 26-acre property is to be incorporated within a Tk'emlups expansion that includes two parcels along the South Thompson River and another near Pinantan Lake, according to regional district documents.

All three parcels are currently owned by the Band's ranch corporation.

Chief Casimir was not available for comment.

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