Katzie First Nation chief Susan Miller got a letter of congratulations from MLA Lisa Beare on opening of Katzie Early Years Centre. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

New child care centre ready at Katzie First Nation

About 90 spaces offered at Pitt Meadows reserve

Kids in and around the Katzie First Nation reserve will find it easier to find daycare once a new centre opens next month on the reserve next to the southeast corner of Pitt Meadows.

The new Katzie Early Years Centre is almost complete, with just some outside panels missing, after starting construction last June.

A total of about 90 daycare, pre-school and before- and after-school care will be created, available to both aboriginal and non-aboriginal kids, with Katzie kids given priority.

Many spots have already been filled.

“It’s everything I have ever dreamed about in an early childhood education environment,” said Torrie St. Louis, childhood education manager. “It’s a huge step for the band.”

Rates will be subsidized by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and will be available to all registrants. The ministry provided a $500,000 capital grant to which the Katzie band added a million dollars of their own money.

“I think this is the beginning of the Katzie being able to really begin to move forward into this new age,” of reconciliation, said chief Susan Miller. “It really does help push us toward the front.”

Kids enrolled will participate in First Nations cultural education programs along with mainstream early childhood education programs. “I think it’s a wonderful thing learning about other cultures and how they operate. I think it’s a really good thing for a young person to learn,” said Maple Ridge Coun. Craig Speirs who attended the opening Wednesday.

The Katzie Early Years Centre opens across from the Katzie Community Health Centre which opened in 2015.

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