Construction is underway on 95 new rental homes on reserve land in North Vancouver. Located at 300 Khatsilano Rd., Capilano Indian Reserve No. 5, the four-storey building will include 95 homes for independent elders, families and youth with a mix of studio and one-, two-, three- and five-bedroom units.
Each unit will have access to a private outdoor space, providing residents with a connection to the outdoors. The building will feature two green spaces for use in ceremonies, storytelling, relaxation and meal sharing.
BC’s Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon, Susie Chant, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Jonathan Wilkinson, MP for North Vancouver, Wilson Williams, spokesperson and General Councillor, Squamish Nationm and Donalene Rapada, CEO for Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh Housing Society, announced a combined investment of more than $15 million to fund the 95 new affordable homes.
“We are so grateful to our community partners, including the Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh Housing Society, for working with us to provide the homes community members need,” Kahlon said. “Delivering more affordable housing through partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations is an important part of our housing plan. These 95 new homes will play a key role in helping many elders, youth and families of Squamish Nation build good lives in and with their community.”
The project will be managed by Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh Housing Society (also known as Hiy̓ám̓ Housing Society), a non-profit organization that develops and manages affordable housing for members of Squamish Nation.
The design will be grounded in Squamish culture and traditional practices to create affordable housing that is culturally reflective of members. Elements of cedar will be incorporated within the building, as well as graphic Coast Salish elements on the balconies and an exterior feature wall that arose from community dialogue and workshops, province said.
This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 76,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 900 homes in North Vancouver.
Jonathan Wilkinson, MP for North Vancouver and federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, said Squamish Nation members will soon have access to more safe and affordable housing that will also provide residents with culturally appropriate options to honour their traditions.
“The Chenkw Em̓út project will enable many more members of Squamish Nation to remain close to their families and friends, contributing to more fulfilling lives and adding to the well-being of their community. These kinds of projects can transform communities for generations to come,” he said.
Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, said the housing project was among the first on-reserve projects ever funded by a provincial government in Canada.
“Our government is proud to be stepping up into this space and working with Indigenous communities on building housing in their communities. We look forward to continue to promote housing rooted in the traditions of Squamish Nation, at rates that youth, families and elders in the community can afford,” she said.