Akisqnuk members can now enjoy the space for wellness

By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

We live in a time where people depend on wellness and fitness as an outlet to find balance. The Columbia Lake Recreation Centre reopened its doors to Akisqnuk members on November 28 . The 22,400-square-foot complex had its grand opening in the spring of 2019, but its benefits to the community were short-lived ,with the pandemic breaking out less than a year later, in March, 2020. 

The Rec Centre has been closed since COVID hit which was the main reason for the closure, shares Raylene Fortin, Recreation Coordinator. The centre had a slight hiccup in August due to a heavy rainfall. 

“We have a problem with the gutter system during heavy rain and winds,” said Bob Cotteral, Project Manager.  “We will be correcting the gutter in the early spring when the roof is free of snow. This problem only occurs during extreme rainstorms. There is no problem with any activities in the gym.” 

The Columbia Lake Recreation Centre houses a gymnasium, elevated track, exercise room and more. It is open to Akisqnuk members Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., giving members access to the fitness room, running track, as well as open gym time. Since its opening in 2019, this Columbia Basin Trust-supported project and the biggest the Akisqnuk community has ever undertaken, has not only been a space for recreation and celebration, (it has) provided jobs and training for community members and provides employment today to the people who help make the place run. Akisqnuk First Nation looks forward to the day they can have a grand opening for Columbia Valley residents to enjoy this facility, but for now, is pleased it can once again be available to their community members.

“The re-opening is long-awaited for the Akisqnuk community. Finally opening back up is giving them access to a facility that they have been sustaining throughout COVID but have been unable to use,” said Fortin. “The hope is for the recreation centre to be a place bustling with kids, elders, and the entire community alike, to come together in sport. The Akisqnuk Community is a community rich in multi-talented individuals and there are a lot of athletically-gifted people that will hone their talents here, and we are so excited to have them do so.”