British Columbia

'Rich diversity of history' to be on display at cultural centre in downtown Kamloops, B.C.

The City of Kamloops, B.C., and the Tk'emlups Indian Band have proposed a cultural centre for the former Stuart Wood School building, which is currently a temporary homeless shelter.

Old school now used as temporary homeless shelter

The Stuart Wood Elementary school sat empty for over a year until it became a temporary homeless shelter on Nov. 1. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

The former Stuart Wood Elementary school building could be home to a new cultural centre in downtown Kamloops, B.C. 

The centre would be a joint initiative between the City of Kamloops and the Tk'emlups Indian Band. 

"I think it's really vital," said Tk'emlups Indian Band acting chief Viola Thomas. "I think we're at a turning point in our relationship as Indigenous peoples.

"Truth and reconciliation is on the minds of many Canadians and I think it's a real opportunity to cultivate that rich diversity of history and showcase the beauty and the culture of Secwepemc people."

Since Stuart Wood Elementary closed in June 2016, the city has been trying to decide what to do with the space.

"I think it's one of the top priorities we have," said chief administrative officer for the City of Kamloops, David Trawin.

The building will continue to be a temporary homeless shelter until March 31, 2018.

Thomas said she isn't sure what form the cultural centre will take, but it would highlight local First Nations history and the cultural diversity of the international students at Thompson Rivers University.

Trawin said further discussions between the City of Kamloops and the Tk'emlups Indian Band will be the next step. It's not known when the cultural centre will open.