By Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Nunavik’s new addiction treatment centre building is nearing completion in Kuujjuaq.
The Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre shared an update Monday on social media that its staff have been given the keys to the new building, marking the official delivery of the new centre located on the edge of the Koksoak River.
“Holding these keys in our hands means the world to us because we can truly feel the work that has been done to get here,” said a post from the centre’s official Facebook page.
“Holding these keys also means that we can start the real transition to our new facility and get ready to welcome our first guests in April 2023.”
The process of moving furniture and other supplies into the new 22-bed building is to begin over the next few days, according to spokesperson Marie-Helene Caron.
A large “first of its kind” qulliq – a traditional Inuit lamp – carved by Mattiusi Iyaituk and Benjamin Isaac has been completed, Caron said in an email. With a length of about 86 centimetres, the lamp will soon be installed.
Benjamin Isaac, left, and Mattiusi Iyaituk are seen here working on a large qulliq, which will welcome visitors in the new Isuarsivik building. (Photo courtesy of Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre)
The outside of the building is lit up at night in the shape of a large avalaqiak plant, taken from Isuarsivik’s logo. That part of the building was designed by Kuujjuaq artist Alec Gordon.
“It personifies the true meaning of resiliency, very similar to Isuarsivik’s guests who want to be reborn or start afresh from the negative vicious circle linked to addiction and trauma,” Caron wrote.
She said she’ll soon have a final cost figure for the new building. The building budget required an increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other delays.
According to a 2019 news release from Isuarsivik, a provincial infrastructure evaluation estimated the cost of a new centre at $40.5 million. The federal and provincial governments have chipped in millions, and the centre has a link on its website for private donations.
After patients begin moving in next spring, a public opening is scheduled for Sept. 20, Caron said.
Jeff Pelletier is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with NUNATSIAQ NEWS. The LJI is a federally funded program.