An artist’s rendering of the new Kwanlin Dün First Nation community hub in Whitehorse’s McIntyre neighbourhood. (Submitted)

KDFN gets $25.75M from Yukon and Canada for new community hub

The hub will be build on the current site of the KDFN administration building

Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizens and visitors will have a new place to gather next year.

The federal and territorial governments are contributing more than $25.75 million combined for the construction of a new KDFN community hub in Whitehorse’s McIntyre neighbourhood, with work starting this fall and expected to be completed by early winter of 2020.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie Dendys, appearing on behalf of Community Services Minister John Streicker, made the funding announcement at KDFN’s administration building the afternoon of July 4.

The federal government is pitching in more than $19.3 million, while the Yukon will be putting forward $6.45 million.

The approximately 40,000-square-foot, energy-efficient building will replace KDFN’s current administration building and be home to a cultural resource centre, archival storage and display facilities, an elders’ lounge, a healing room and an event space, among other things.

It’s an important addition to the community, KDFN Chief Doris Bill said at the announcement.

“‘Community hub’ is described perfectly in its name,” she said.

“It will be a place where our citizens gather for meetings, gatherings, ceremonies or just to socialize. It is where KDFN citizens will come to learn about the various programs and services our government can provide. And it is a reflection of the people of Kwanlin Dün … It will provide an anchor, a signal that after a number of forced relocations, the people of Kwanlin Dün are here to stay.”

The community hub will also provide some much-needed space for KDFN government and administration, Bill told reporters.

“Well, you see these trailers out back? Over there?” she said, pointing out the boardroom window. “We’re currently squeezed into those trailers, we’re squeezed into housing that could be used for citizens. We are literally almost on top of each other in some cases. We’re screaming from space here.”

KDFN itself will be spending $3.2 million for the hub. The First Nation funded the design process, Bill said, which included a week-long “design festival” hosted by the First Nation last year to gather feedback from citizens.

Dendys, who previously worked as KDFN’s director of justice before jumping into territorial politics, said that she knew it had been a “long path” for KDFN to get to this point.

“I want to say just how vitally important (having a community hub) is to the well-being of the Kwanlin Dün community,” she said. “I know that many of you have followed the stories along the way of community safety and community wellness and the vitality that’s growing in the Kwanlin Dün community and I’m proud to say that I was part of helping build that vision and today is an emotional day for us because this is … a new chapter for the Kwanlin Dün community and for Yukon.”

Dendys pointed to the importance and success of the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre “in regards to the many cultural and social opportunities it provides for Kwanlin Dün citizens.”

Bagnell said the federal government’s investment was in more than just the physical structure of the community hub.

“Once complete, residents and visitors of all ages will be able to participate in traditional cultural events and educational programming while connecting with one another in an inclusive community space,” he said.

“…So believe me, when we invest in social infrastructure, we improve mental health, physical health, spiritual health.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Finance employee charged with allegedly defrauding Yukon government of nearly $50k

Michael Kipkirui was arrested Nov. 12 and is facing eight criminal charges

CBC North reverses decision to replace local a.m. newscasts with ‘pan-northern’ model

Staff at CBC Yukon felt ‘shock and disappointment’ over the original plan, made public Nov. 18

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Reclamation fund being explored in wake of Wolverine Mine receivership

The Yukon government isn’t going to require mines pay more than 100 per cent in security

Yukon Rivermen split first home series of the season

The team won its home opener 4-1 against the North Central Zone Bobcats

Yukoner Jessica Frotten racks up top 10s at World Para Athletics Championships

“I’m really putting everything I’ve got into making that Canadian team for Tokyo”

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

Whitehorse biathlete Nadia Moser earns IBU World Cup spot on Canadian team

Whitehorse’s Nadia Moser will begin the biathlon season at the IBU World… Continue reading

Whitehorse Glacier Bears host swimmers from Inuvik and B.C. at Ryan Downing Memorial Invitational Swim Meet

“Everyone had a good time – it was amazing. It was a really great meet.”

City news, briefly

Some of the decisions made at the Nov. 12 Whitehorse council meeting

Driving with Jens: Yielding is at the heart of defensive driving

If you’re like most people, you probably think about whether you have right-of-way, not yielding

Today’s mailbox: Remembrance Day, highway work

Letters to the editor published Nov. 13

F.H. Collins Warriors beat Vanier Crusaders in Super Volley boys volleyball final

“As long as we can control their big plays to a minimum, we’ll be successful”

Most Read