Representatives from the Mistissini band council, including Chief Richard Shecapio and Director of Municipal Services Emmett Macleod and members of the Mistissini Youth Council joined about 100 band members June 20 for a ground breaking ceremony and BBQ lunch.
“The need is great for a new facility for the youth population because the majority of our population is so young,” said Shecapio.
Shecapio said that council made a particular effort to ensure that the new building would finally be realized after years of work by previous Mistissini administrations.
He shared ceremonial shovel duties with Mistissini Youth Chief Shawn Iserhoff for the traditional photo-op.
The new building is slated to open its doors in early 2015. The new facility will be significantly larger than the previous youth centre, which has been closed for years after being condemned as unsafe.
“We have tried to make sure that it is not just a plain building. It will be a nice facility for sure. We are going to use the same kind of materials that we used on the sports complex like wood beams mixed with steel. Size wise we are looking at something that will be more than twice the size of the current youth centre,” said Shecapio.
According to Iserhoff, the centre will be a place for youth to engage in everything from sports to learning to socializing.
“The youth wanted somewhere to hang out and mingle with other youth and not have to be outdoors in the cold during the winter months. We wanted to have a full-size gymnasium because the community is getting bigger and at the sports complex priority really wasn’t being given to the youth. We were able to get a multi-purpose hall, which is like a half-size gymnasium where they will be able to shoot hoops or have mini floor-hockey tournaments and things like that,” Iserhoff said.
This multi-purpose room offers space for workshops and can accommodate up to 50 people. It could also be used as a movie theatre. The youth would also be able to rent this room out to other groups during the day while they are busy at school
The building will also feature a conference room that can be transformed into a computer hub or a training room.
Along with office space, the new facility will have an unfinished basement which could be used as a music studio should the funding be found for it.
“They are going to be making the walls sound proof and work on the acoustics and so there is going to be potential for that in the future,” said Iserhoff.
Since the closure of the previous youth centre, the community’s young had been trying to create events and after-school programming at Mistissini’s sports complex. But they had to compete with other groups throughout the community and priority wasn’t always given to the youth. That’s about to change.