Fishing Lake Métis Settlement held a wonderful celebration to open their new Administration building. The multi-use facility will be home to the Settlement’s Administration staff, Council Chambers, a health worker and an RCMP outpost.
Blake Desjarlais, with the Métis Settlements General Council, greeted over 100 honoured guests at the doors of the building for the ribbon cutting with a history of the Administration building.
Provincial representatives MLA Scott Cyr and MLA David Hanson, as well as leaders from neighbouring communities, Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland, Mayor of Elk Point Lorne Young, and Councillors from Bonnyville and Elk Point attended the celebations.
Describing the little house that was renovated into an office, where his Kokum, Christina Desjarlais, was one of the first people to work as an admin person for the Settlement, Desjarlais said it was bitter-sweet,”I’m just disappointed she wasn’t here to see this.”
“It’s their labour, their blood, sweat and tears, that is on this land that has enabled us to do the work that we are able to do today.” Desjarlais explained it’s the history that carries the community, “it’s a big part of what we’re able to do today.”
The building then moved into a shared space with the public works shop before outgrowing that space as well.
“When we wanted to build this, we kept telling ourselves, ‘we can do this’. That’s the mentality that our people have. This is what that mentality does, we did this!” Desjarlais thanked the previous Council, as well as the new leadership for all their hard work in seeing the building through.
After the ribbon cutting, Administration and Councillors, including Council Chair Herb Lehr, took the guests on tours of the building.
The building has a bright and inviting atmosphere with exposed wood elements, that bring a piece of the land inside.
There are offices for every administrative staff members, as well as, a separate wing for the community health nurse and an RCMP outpost member.
The health nurse assists with everything from day-to-day health concerns to maternity care and baby wellness check-ups and immunizations.
The RCMP member, stationed out of Elk Point, has an outpost at the building so that the response time is drastically lowered for the community. There is an interview room and holding cell.
The building will be home to FLMS Council, with a large chambers and gallery for the membership.
It features artwork from many community members. One notable piece hangs in Council Chambers done by Stephen Gladue of Gabriel Dumont. Worked into the image are bison and a custom-made satchel.
The building is accessible to the membership, that was one of the main goals in the design. There is free use of the computer kiosk with wifi. As well as two large meeting rooms that can expand into one larger room.
The new Administration building was completed in 20 months from the ground breaking.