The provincial government is hoping to open a new cultural lodge at Pine Grove Correctional Centre by spring 2020.
A development permit for the structure was approved at the August 19 city council meeting. According to the development permit, the cultural lodge would include a sweat lodge and a gathering area. It would be built along the north edge of the property adjacent to two existing buildings.
In an emailed statement, the Ministry of Corrections and Policing confirmed plans to build the cultural lodge.
“Appropriate cultural infrastructure is important to delivering cultural programs that help offenders rehabilitate, reflect and build links to their culture and communities,” the province said in a statement.
It said the ministry works with Indigenous and Métis communities to access “expertise regarding culturally-appropriate services and programs for offenders.”
That includes using local elders and cultural advisors to provide cultural services.
Offenders work with elders to enable healing and help to reintegrate them back into communities. Services include mentoring, counselling, self-help programs and traditional ceremonies.
“The cultural lodge design was created through consultation with facility staff, the director of First Nations and Métis Services, Elders and Ministry of Central Services Staff,” the ministry wrote.
‘The heated and powered building will include an indoor sweat lodge area and an adjacent meeting area, which provides privacy for users.”
The ministry said an Indigenous-owned company has been awarded the contract and is expected to complete the cultural lodge construction by the spring of 2020.
Pine Grove is the only provincial women’s correctional centre in the province. It houses women serving sentences of two years less a day along with women on remand awaiting the court process to conclude.