Message from the Chief – Investing in our Health


Ki’suk kyukyit (greetings). I have been a member of Simply Fit for a great number of years. The local gym has changed hands in ownership a few times but one thing that remained the same was the convenience of 24/7 access. In the 90’s, my wife purchased a membership for me as a Christmas gift. Working out assisted with my depression and kept me in reasonable physical health. Unfortunately, I was not consistent with my fitness routine and let it slide.

When I joined the Military, I sustained a severe back injury during training. I returned home in a deep depression and was ignoring the rehabilitation that I was required to do before re-entry into military training. A colleague asked if I wanted to go with him to the local gym. He gave me a routine to help strengthen my back and so began the journey to recovery. Each day I became stronger and stronger. Each day I was becoming stronger mentally. Although, the saying “a new me” was emerging is corny, this is the only way that I can sum it up.

Seven months later, I returned to Basic Military Qualification and completed my course. I then continued on to the Soldier Qualification Course, which I believe was even more strenuous than Basic, but I competed that. This was probably the strongest that I have ever been in my life. I was 31 years old at the time. 31 years old in the military during these stages is ancient, especially when all those on course with me were between the ages of 18 to 20 years old.

That chapter in my life has closed but I remained committed to a physical fitness routine. Four times a week at 0700 in the morning, I would venture to the gym to begin the day. This has become a regular part of my day, no different than eating a meal. It is something that I have to do in order to be productive in my job. No different than when I was a soldier, I had to be physically able to do the job effectively.

The Lower Kootenay Band has dealt with so many health issues through the years. Diabetes, cancer, obesity, and depression. We cannot help what genetics bring, but what we can do is be proactive with attempts at prevention. I am saddened at the closing of the Simply Fit Gym, however, it presented an opportunity for the Lower Kootenay Band. The Lower Kootenay Band purchased the gym equipment and we are constructing our own private facility.

Our fitness centre will be free of charge for Lower Kootenay Band Members and staff of the Lower Kootenay Band Administration. Before the purchase of the gym equipment, a community survey was conducted on whether or not community members would utilize the facility. Not one survey said no. The community spoke loud and clear that they would utilize the gym. The community is committed to their personal physical health and wellness. With respect to our staff, my theory is if our staff is physical and mentally well, they will be giving the job their very best. This fitness centre and equipment was an investment of health and wellness.

We have gone through some difficult times as a community. It is just a good feeling when we are all focused on a goal and see the big picture. As we speak, many of the young men are in the process of moving the equipment into its new home. The younger men and women are already planning their routines. For those who are new to the gym, we have a personal trainer on hand to assist with becoming familiar with the equipment and to help create a routine tailored to their needs. Everyone from LKB can work out in an environment that is not intimidating.

In closing, I thank all of the owners of the gym downtown. I have nothing but good memories of the facility. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity for the purchase of the equipment, as it will be going to a good cause. We can do all of the economic development we want, but if we are not in good physical condition, we will not see the benefits. We invested in the health and wellness of our people, and that is one great and wise decision.