SAANICH, B.C. — Work has begun on a new housing development designed to meet the needs of Indigenous people in the workforce on the Tsawout First Nation in central Saanich.
“This project will help working people in Saanich stay connected to their culture, communities and families,” said Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South, in a press release. “We will continue to work in partnership with First Nations and Indigenous housing partners to deliver more much-needed affordable housing, both on and off reserve.”
The five-storey building will include 24 two-bedroom suites, three three-bedroom suites and one fully accessible suite. The homes are being built through a partnership between the province through BC Housing, the Salish Sea Housing Society and the Tsawout First Nation.
“The Tsawout First Nation is thrilled to work with BC Housing to have affordable housing for working families built on our traditional territories,” said Chief Harvey Underwood of the Tsawout First Nation. “There are many jobs opening up right now, but without an affordable place to live, it is harder for people to access these jobs. We are pleased that these 28 units will be built to a high environmental energy standard, which fits with the values of our First Nation.”
The project’s amenities include dishwashers and washer/dryer hookups in each unit, a common laundry facility, storage lockers and bike storage, covered parking and internet access. The design also features a playground and a communal space for barbecuing and gatherings to encourage community among residents.
“Once the Salish Sea Housing Society identified the strong need for workforce housing on the traditional W̱SÁNEĆ territory, they embarked on a mission to fill this gap in housing options,” said Ron Rice, chair of the Salish Sea Housing Society. “We are so excited to see this vision actualized and are grateful to our project partners.”
Officials said rental rates will be confirmed closer to the opening date but are expected to be well below market rents in the area – approximately $655 for a two-bedroom unit and $750 for a three-bedroom. The housing is expected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2023.