Healthy Living in the North

IMAGINE granting & cultivating community: The Burns Lake Community Garden

The courtyard and fire pit at the Burns Lake Community Garden.
The courtyard within the Burns Lake Community Garden, where people can gather around the fire to relax, socialize, and learn.

Healthy communities are much like gardens – they don’t just happen. They need to be tended, cultivated, and nurtured to grow to their full potential. Community gardens take this metaphor and turn it into real-world success stories. One of these tales of triumph is the Burns Lake Community Garden.

Like many communities in Northern BC, Burns Lake faces challenges with access to fresh, healthy foods. The Burns Lake Community Garden Society (BLCGS) seeks to address these concerns, and in Spring 2018 they applied for funding through the IMAGINE Community Grants program. The project was approved, and they got to work building an “edible environment” for all community members to enjoy.

In addition to planting a dozen fruit trees and a dozen fruit bearing bushes to provide access to local produce, the BLCGS wanted to create an environment for people to come together and enjoy the literal fruits of their labour. They envisioned a courtyard, surrounded by garden, where people could gather around a fire to relax, socialize, and learn. And it’s safe to say, that vision was realized.

Completed in late summer, the upgraded community garden has already hosted a successful workshop on traditional First Nations use of medicinal plants. The workshop brought together a diverse group of 20 individuals who used plants grown in the garden to explore medicinal applications and receive traditional knowledge. Further workshops are already in the works, and the courtyard has seen frequent use as a social gathering place as well.

Access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be a barrier to healthy living for residents of our Northern communities, but groups like the Burns Lake Community Garden Society are working to change that. By growing their communities, they make them stronger, healthier, and more resilient. With a new greenhouse installed in 2018 as well, the BLCGS is excited about an extended growing season and the opportunity to provide local food to their community year-round. The IMAGINE Community Grants program is proud to support this and other projects that make our communities healthy! 

Have an idea that could make your community a healthier place? The Spring 2019 intake of the IMAGINE Community Grants program opens March 1, 2019. Visit the IMAGINE Grant page today!

Andrew Steele

About Andrew Steele

Andrew Steele is the Coordinator of Community Funding Programs for Northern Health. He is passionate about community development, and believes that healthy communities are the result of many people working together toward common goals. Outside work, Andrew loves mountain biking, teaching Ride classes at The Movement, and enjoying art, culture and food with friends and family.

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Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre officially open!

Individuals put messages into a wooden time capsule.

Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health Board Chair; Anne Desrosiers, Burns Lake Nurse Practitioner; Jerry Petersen, Acting Chair of the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District; Health Minister Terry Lake; Dan George, Burns Lake Band Chief; and John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes and Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation celebrate putting their messages in the time capsule that will be opened in 25 years to remember the grand opening celebration for the new Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre.

The new $55 million Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre is officially open and accepting patients! The project was completed ahead of schedule and on-budget.

The new hospital has 16 beds and will provide acute care and emergency services, diagnostic imaging, lab services, and pharmacy. A medical clinic will offer primary, outpatient and acute care, along with the delivery of mental health and addictions and public health, as well as home- and community-care services. The facility is a two-storey building totalling approximately 6,100 square metres (65,000 square feet). The hospital is a green and energy-efficient facility designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

The project was officially announced in April 2012, and the first big milestone was the move of the old nurses’ residence that December. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 12, 2013 as excavation of the site began. Construction started in January 2014 with substantial completion of the hospital in December 2014.

You can see a video from the grand opening event held on January 22, 2015 below.

This year will see landscaping, demolition of the old facility, and paving of the new parking lots. The move to the new building will take place in phases. The transfer of existing hospital services and primary care services is now complete and the transfer of a few other services, such as the occupancy of physicians’ offices, is expected later in 2015.

PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. built the new Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre. The total project cost of $55 million was shared between the Government of British Columbia and Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District.

Jonathon Dyck

About Jonathon Dyck

Jonathon is a communications officer at Northern Health. Originally from Airdrie, Alberta, Jonathon has a broadcasting diploma from Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta, and a BA with a major in communications from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. Jonathon enjoys golf, hockey, curling, hiking, biking, and canoeing. He is also an avid sports fan and attends as many sporting events as humanly possible, including hockey, soccer, baseball, football, rugby, basketball, and lacrosse.
(Jonathon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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