The Hay River reserve officially opened its new wellness centre on Thursday.

The $1.2 million facility is named after Anne Buggins, an elder known for being a strong spiritual leader in the community. The project has been in the works for almost ten years.

Shirley Lamalice, a wellness worker at the centre, says it will be more convenient for people on the reserve who, until now, have had to travel to Hay River for health care.

"It's always a long waiting list to get an appointment [in Hay River], especially for our elders," says Lamalice. "[Now] it's in one place and a person can just come in."

Community healthcare, homecare, and wellness workers will all operate out of the facility.

Health and Social Services Minister Tom Beaulieau says he hopes weekly medical clinic and counseling services will also be available at the centre.

"It's always a difficult task of moving people to the service, to where the service is being provided," says Beaulieu. "Whenever we have an opportunity to bring the service to the people that's what we try to do."

Katlodeeche First Nation Chief Roy Fabien says the building will help the spiritual well-being of people living on the reserve

"This building is for you … the young people," Fabien says. "This is so that you will grow up in a good healthy way. So that you have a place to go when you need help."