Qaujigiartiit still $1.5M away from completing Iqaluit wellness hub
Inuusirvik’s grand opening set for September 2023
The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre is still $1.5 million short of its goal to build the Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub, which is scheduled to open in 10 months.
The non-profit is still fundraising to build the $12.5-million hub, said executive and scientific director Gwen Healey Akeearok Wednesday morning at the centre’s office in Iqaluit.
“As a non-profit, it’s extremely challenging to leverage capital investment in this type of building project,” Akeearok said.
Inuusirvik is currently under construction on Sivumugiaq Street, near Northmart.
Once built, the wellness hub will provide a centralized space for Nunavummiut to receive support, such as land-based, early childhood education and suicide prevention programs and counselling.
It will give organizations, such as Ilisaqsivik and Tasiuqtigiit Society, a space to work from.
“We all recognized the need to better support families, that was the spark that sent us on a journey for the next 10 years,” Akeearok said. “Our goal is to eliminate this fragmented model that families currently have to navigate in order to access services.”
Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett was at the centre Wednesday as well. She said Infrastructure Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency have given Qaujigiartiit $7.2 million to help complete the construction of Inuusirvik.
She was not in Iqaluit to announce new money from the federal government; Bennett said the money had been committed to the project prior to the release of the fall economic statement.
Bennett said there needs to be a holistic approach to improving the territory’s mental health, including having better job opportunities and housing.
“In order to have the resources to meet the demands, we have to reduce the demand, which means keeping people well, not just patching them up when they get sick,” Bennett said.
Akeearok said the money is a significant help for Qaujigiartiit’s cause.
The grand opening of the wellness hub is set for September 2023, Akeearok said.