Grandview Lodge Gets New Life and Direction for Matawa Youth

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City of Thunder Bay and Matawa First Nations Management Signed a letter of intent at Grandview Lodge this morning
City of Thunder Bay and Matawa First Nations Management Signed a letter of intent at Grandview Lodge this morning


THUNDER BAY – Officials from the City of Thunder Bay and Matawa First Nations Management announced today City Council’s authorization of a Letter of Intent to move forward with granting Grandview Lodge, a former long-term care facility, to Matawa First Nations Management following a deputation made last night.

The City’s surplus facility will be used to establish a Matawa Student Education and Care and Centre.  On August 28, City Council Committee of the Whole approved and ratified the granting of the Grandview Lodge building to Matawa.

City of Thunder Bay and Matawa First Nations Management Signed a letter of intent at Grandview Lodge this morning
City of Thunder Bay and Matawa First Nations Management Signed a letter of intent at Grandview Lodge this morning

“The signing of this letter of intent between Matawa and the City of Thunder Bay is a major step forward in improving the safety of First Nation youth that come to Thunder Bay to obtain a high school education,” says Acting Mayor Linda Rydholm. “We recognize the significant importance of this project, its benefits and how Matawa intends to execute it.”

Rydholm spoke of the importance of coming together.

The process to this innovative solutions based effort actually in many ways started with former Mayor Lynn Peterson, and then during his first term on Council were really brought to the forefront by Mayor Keith Hobbs. The efforts, including signing agreements with the Wasaya Group to pilot project a Youth Centre, and then the memorandums of understanding and joint council meetings with Fort William First Nation were just some of the efforts that led to today’s success. The groundwork for these agreements were forged by Thunder Bay’s first Aboriginal Liaison Anna Gibbon, who worked to put the vision of the ideas down.

Darius Ferris and David Paul Achneepineksum from Matawa First Nation Management
Darius Ferris and David Paul Achneepineksum from Matawa First Nation Management

“This represents an important first step which will allow Matawa to create a home for its students, where they can feel safe and secure, and feel a sense of family,” said David Paul Achneepineskum, Matawa First Nations CEO. “Our vision is to use a holistic approach, meeting the emotional, physical and academic needs of the Matawa First Nation students. We look forward to working with our other community partners to develop this facility.”

Darius Ferris, the President of the Matawa Board spoke on how important working together is for the city and Matawa in order to achieve the goals of student safety.

The impact of problems faced by First Nations students in arriving in Thunder Bay was explained this morning by Danielle Yellowhead who came to Thunder Bay to the Matawa Learning Centre to get her high school diploma, before heading on the Confederation College.

This fall, Matawa will be holding various events as part of its Neighbourhood Outreach program to get to know Northwood residents and businesses in the area.  A neighbourhood barbeque will be held, with more details soon.

Matawa looks forward to working with its funding partners to obtain the required capital and operating funding to develop this initiative.

Matawa and the City will sign the Letter of Intent, negotiate an agreement, then transfer the property in the coming weeks after which time Matawa will be responsible for its operation moving forward.  Matawa’s first steps will be to complete preliminary design drawings and obtain capital funding for the renovations.