COQUITLAM, B.C.—B.C. officials, the federal government and the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation are teaming up to provide housing for members of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.
Officials noted these are the first homes to be built on First Nation land in the Lower Mainland under the province’s new Indigenous Housing Fund.
“This housing project is a significant achievement for the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation, as it provides us with the type of quality, safe and affordable housing that we so desperately need,” said Chief Ed Hall, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation, in a press release. “It will help us address our current housing shortage due to our growing population, and also allow us to welcome back home more of our members.”
The homes are also the first to be built by the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation under their historic Land Code, passed in 2020, which transfers the management of reserve lands from the Government of Canada back to the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation. The management of these lands was in federal government hands since 1876.
“As the first province to invest in on-Nation housing, our government is proud to be partnering with the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation to deliver these safe and secure homes for Indigenous people, families and Elders,” said Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville. “We will continue to work with housing providers to build homes like these, as well as call on the federal government to match our provincial commitments for new Indigenous housing so that all who need housing can access it.”
The project will be constructed on kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation’s ancient village site, now called slakəya’nc (meaning “young sockeye”). The site is located on the banks of the Coquitlam River where it meets the Fraser River in Coquitlam.
The 14 new homes will be built within two three-storey and a one-storey building on the site. B.C. is contributing $2.9 million to the project through the Indigenous Housing Fund and will provide approximately $58,500 in annual operating funding to the KFN Housing Society, which will operate the new affordable homes.
The building’s design includes energy-saving features, like solar panels on the roofs. Some units will also be fully wheelchair accessible to meet the needs of Elders and people with disabilities.
Indigenous Services Canada is providing a subsidy of $825,000 toward this project under its Housing Support Program.
Construction on the three-building development is scheduled to start this month and is expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months.
As part of the Nation’s efforts to revitalize traditions, language and culture, members of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation will decide on a name for this housing project in their hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language later this year.