Ahkathkakoop Cree Nation and the province of Saskatchewan have signed an agreement moving them closer to completing a new project in Saskatoon.

The two sides officially signed a Project Development Agreement Wednesday afternoon for the planned Urgent Care Centre in Saskatoon.

The Centre will be operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority with Ahtahkakoop Cree Developments, the economic arm of the First Nation, holding the lease.

“We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our community and the wider community of Saskatoon and area,” Chief Larry Ahenakew said. “The Urgent Care Centre is a vital resource that will provide accessible and high-quality health care services to those in need.”

The facility was announced last year and will be located at the site of the former Pleasant Hill School, near St. Paul’s

“We are grateful for the continued collaboration with our partners at Ahtahkakoop on this innovative Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre project,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “We want to have the right patient in front of the right health care provider at the right time, and this will help patients who require care that can’t wait until the next day but also may not necessarily need to be in an emergency department. It will also include intake for mental health and addictions patients as well.”

(Delegates and members of the public brave the weather to attend the signing ceremony. Photo by Joel Willick.)

The province says design work is underway for the facility and crews are currently clearing property where the facility is set to be located.  Construction is set to begin in the fall.

The Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre is one of two centres currently planned in the province. The opening of a similar facility in Regina is expected at some point this summer.

(TOP PHOTO – Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation Chief Larry Ahenakew provides his address as the rain falls. Photo by Joel Willick.)