A former residential school building in the remote British Columbia community of Lower Post will be demolished and replaced after decades of lobbying efforts by local Indigenous leaders.
The federal and B.C. governments say construction on a new, $13.5-million project is set to start in June and expected to be complete by next year.
B.C. Premier John Horgan, federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and area Indigenous leaders, including Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling of the Daylu Dena Council at Lower Post, made the announcement today during a virtual news conference.
Watch live: we’re partnering with the federal government and Daylu Dena Council to announce a new community centre and demolition of the former residential school in Lower Post, BC.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) April 15, 2021
Horgan says he was moved to work with the federal government to replace the residential school building after local elders told him during a visit that some people feared stepping inside the place where they suffered physical and sexual abuse.
When I walked through the residential school building in Lower Post in 2019, I could see from the Elders with me this was a place of terrible trauma.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) April 15, 2021
In partnership, we will be tearing it down & building a new community centre that will be a place of healing, hope & well-being. pic.twitter.com/u0YqSsTB6Z
The building has been serving as the Daylu Dena Council's band office, a post office and employment centre for the estimated 175 residents of the community, located near the B.C.-Yukon border.
Schilling says it's been devastating knowing the hurt many elders have been holding inside over the years but the building's demolition will finally bring some relief.