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Architect Ronald Tolentino's rendering of the exterior of the Pasqua First Nation's elders lodge to be built in September 2021 in the community. Evan Radford/Regina Leader-Post
Architect Ronald Tolentino’s rendering of the exterior of the Pasqua First Nation’s elders lodge to be built in September 2021 in the community. EVAN RADFORD/Regina Leader-Post Photo by Evan Radford /jpg

The completion of the Elders Centre will mean “our people don’t have to leave, that we give them a sense of security. Because what’s on their mind is, if I can’t look after myself, and a lot of them don’t want to admit it, they will continue to try to stay in independent living, and we know that they need those second-, third-level services,” he said.

Each living unit in the new centre will be private with a kitchenette, a bedroom and a living area; communal areas are to include a lounge for visiting, a sauna and a theatre.

Pasqua’s current living centre for elders has 20 units, 10 of which have one bedroom, and 10 units have two bedrooms; it’s full, he said.

Designed by Regina-based KRN Tolentino Architecture, the new building is to have 12 units to start, with options for expansion.

Architect Ronald Tolentino has designed the building’s exterior with solar panels and what looks to be a circular, communal-gathering atrium near the building’s entrance. The living quarters extend lengthwise off the main gathering area.

Peigan noted the community’s elders will be giving their input for designing the building’s interior.

As of Friday, there are eight elders at Pasqua who would need Level 2 or Level 3 care, but even if the new centre isn’t filled to capacity, its units will remain open until they’re filled.

--Pasqua First Nation, Sask., Sept. 18, 2020 -- Elder Delbert Pasqua holds up the ceremonial shovel used for a sod-turning ceremony to mark the beginning of construction for a new elders lodge to be built on the Pasqua First Nation by September 2021, on Sept. 18, 2020. Evan Radford/Regina Leader-Post
Elder Delbert Pasqua holds up the ceremonial shovel used for a sod-turning ceremony to mark the beginning of construction for a new elders lodge to be built on the Pasqua First Nation by September 2021, on Sept. 18, 2020. Evan Radford/Regina Leader-Post Photo by Evan Radford /jpg

“It’s designated just strictly for our First Nation elders,” he said.

Pasqua is using interest returns from settlement money, $145 million, which it received in 2018, to build the Elders Centre. Peigan said a four per cent interest rate on that initial sum has allowed the community to grow the pot.

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