Friendship centre in Houston

Friendship centre gets major grant for construction project

Replacement facility gets green light from federal, provincial governments

What’s being regarded as one of the more significant projects of its kind in Houston has been announced by the federal and provincial governments.

The Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre Society is getting $3,430,389 from the federal government and $1,143,463 from the provincial government for a combined $4,573,852 for a replacement facility.

It’s to be accessible for people of varying physical limitations, have a community kitchen and have a playground.

The project, announced April 11, is one of 21 infrastructure initiatives which the federal and provincial governments are helping finance within rural and remote communities in B.C.

And this project has the second highest dollar value of the 21, behind Enderby which is getting a combined $5 million from the federal and provincial governments for an outdoor pool.

District of Houston mayor Shane Brienen said the District was looking forward to working with the Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre Society as its plans move forward.

“This is great news for the community,” said Brienen. “It’s going to be a real benefit.”

In terms of construction in the community focused on services and amenities for people, Brienen said the last significant project was the completion of the District’s leisure services facility in 2006.

“That was just over $5 million or just under $5 million. Now it would be in the $12 million to $13 million range,” he said.

As it is, the friendship centre and the District already have an agreement for the District to lease a lot it owns on 10th Ave. for a transition house project the centre hopes will be financed by the provincial government.

There is no facility for women and children fleeing domestic violence of the kind in Houston, meaning that they have to leave the community for a safe place elsewhere.

Also on the friendship centre’s planning agenda is how to use a $150,000 grant provided by the provincial government and managed by the Northern Development Initiative Trust for a transit service.

The centre already maintains a passenger connection between Houston, Telkwa and Smithers and will also run a service south from Dease Lake in times of local emergencies or other specific purposes.

Friendship centre executive director Annette Morgan said it is working out details now with the initiative trust.

All told, 57 projects in B.C. were provided federal and provincial grants for community, cultural, recreation and other purposes. Some were additionally boosted with municipal or First Nations contributions.

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