City mulls extra funds for new Indigenous healing centre
'I think that's appropriate, given some of our commitments around reconciliation,' mayor says
City staff want an extra $1.3 million to build an Indigenous healing and cultural centre in Edmonton next year.
Administration requested the money as part of a scheduled capital budget adjustment, an opportunity for city council to adjust the amount of money dedicated to various projects.
The Kihciy Askiy Sacred Earth centre will host traditional ceremonies such as sweat lodges and talking circles on the old Fox Farms property near Fort Edmonton Park.
The city has already committed $2.55 million. Additional funds would pay for more parking spaces as well as heating and insulation so the centre can stay open in winter.
Mayor Don Iveson said the money will help the centre reach more people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
"I think that's appropriate, given some of our commitments around reconciliation," Iveson said. "The opportunities for training and intercultural learning here are quite profound. But only if we do it right."
The centre will provide a space for government agencies and Indigenous groups and resources to come together, Iveson said.
"As often happens, the city sort of lays the groundwork and the foundation," he said. "If partners want to help grow what we can do on a ceremonial site at Kihciy Askiy, then we'd welcome that."
City council will continue to discuss capital budget adjustments until Friday.