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First Nation taking over this inner city hotel

An inner city hotel with a reputation is about to become a hub for healing.

Pimicikamak Cree Nation is part of a business venture to turn Balmoral Hotel into an Indigenous wellness centre. It would feature a walk-in clinic, a pharmacy and a daycare.

The hotel has a checkered past and present - once a bar and strip club. But the new plan will help heal the community and transform the area.

"It's going to be a game changer for our people," said David Muswaggon, a councillor with the Pimicikamak Cree Nation.

The Cree Nation was part of a business group that took over the building on Nov. 1 to redevelop the hotel – and beer vendor which will close – in order to build the wellness centre.

"Our job is to come here with a plan to provide hope, not only to our people but to the people that are struggling in the area."

There will also be a 28-unit apartment adjacent to the centre which will include low income housing and space for long term care patients.

"We want them to feel like they're at home away from home and to bring in traditional and cultural services that will incorporate, make it a unique business model."

Drop-in services will also expand in the new year as 1JustCity is expected to move into the basement of the hotel.

It will offer meals, Indigenous cultural programming, housing supports, and harm reduction measures.

"It's right in the crossroads of a few communities. We're going to be able to continue supporting the folks in the West End we've been working with, but reach out in some other neighbourhoods that are a little more underserved," said Josh Ward with 1JustCity.

The entire project is expected to take around 18 to 24 months. The final cost isn't known yet, but a City of Winnipeg assessment on the current property is $3.2 million. Top Stories

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