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Pangnirtung, Nunavut, will soon have a new wellness centre

0 6 months ago

The new wellness centre is set to open at the end of the month

Pangnirtung’s first wellness centre is getting ready to open its doors this month after three years in the making.

The group behind it found there was limited space in the hamlet for community gatherings, such as sealskin making or preschool programming. Their goal was to to have a facility that any of Pangnirtung’s 1,600 residents can use both in the day and evening.

“Once the idea came, it took a lot of planning and finding locations…. And then to make it more successful and useful, we did two radio shows for the community asking what kind of programs … the community need in regards to wellness or programming that the community wants to do,” said Mary Etuangat, co-founder of the upcoming wellness centre, and co-chair of the Suputiit Wellness Committee in the hamlet.

Complimentary services

The Suputiit Wellness Committee — funded by the Department of Health — has traditionally been tasked with the community’s wellness, mental health, preschool, prenatal, and food programs. They have secured an annual $365,000 budget over the next five years to support the new centre’s initiatives.

Hamlet Mayor Eric Lawlor says he is looking forward to more youth programming, which he says has been needed since the community’s youth centre closed years ago of lack of funding. He thinks it’s a much needed community space, and said the hamlet is looking to upgrade some other facilities to add even more capacity.

A women's sewing circle sits in the Sailivik Drop-In Centre.

Cox says it can get really busy at the centre — with up to 400 people walking through their doors each month — and so the wellness centre can help and take over some of its programs so there is more space for other initiatives, like a treatment camp outside of the community. She hopes the Nunavut Recovery Centre will also be able to provide counselling, among other things, when it comes online in 2025.

“We can start here, plant the seed and they can go for further services,” said Cox. “It’s needed in every community.”

A sign hangs on the Sailivik Drop-In Centre.

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