The Seabird Island community will soon get much-needed relief in its housing market.
B.C. housing minister Ravi Kahlon was in the First Nations community on Friday, June 9, to make a milestone announcement. The province has partnered with the Seabird Island Band to build $20-million new, on-reserve affordable home project.
Kahlon said the new homes would provide accessible, affordable housing for families, elders and those living with disabilities while staying close to their family and community.
“Our government will continue to work with Indigenous organizations and First Nations throughout the province to build the homes that Indigenous families need and at prices they can afford,” Kahlon said.
The project includes two buildings with a mix of 34 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes. One building will contain 12 accessible homes especially for elders and those living with disabilities.
Construction is expected to begin in March 2024 at the intersection of Pipeho:m and Steqoye Roads; this puts the development within walking distance of the band office, Seabird Health Centre and the Early Childhood Development Centre.
Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris said the upcoming project would help significantly with the community’s overcrowding issues.
“Housing is a long-standing issue for First Nations across Canada, and Seabird is no exception,” he stated. “Seabird works hard to help people build their own homes, but that is not an option for many of our low-income families. We are thankful for the continued partnership with B.C. Housing.”
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon said the upcoming Seabird Island project is another important collaboration between the NDP government and First Nations communities across the province.
“Our government will continue to work with Indigenous Peoples to build affordable housing that can ease the burden on elders, members and families.”
The Seabird Island project is part of a larger $19-billion investment in housing by the government. Since 2017, the province has delivered more than 76,000 homes across B.C. that are either completed or underway; 500 of these homes are found in the Chilliwack-Kent riding.