New affordable homes coming on reserve for Seabird Island Band members
AGASSIZ - The Province is partnering with the Seabird Island Band to build 34 new affordable homes on reserve for Band members, including families, Elders and people living with disabilities.
"These homes will help more Band members live affordably and close to their family, community and culture," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “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.”
The project will include two buildings with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes. One building will have 12 accessible homes for elders and people living with disabilities, and the other will be a three-storey building with 16 apartments and six townhomes for families, single parents and people with low incomes.
"We are very pleased to see this project approved for funding," said Chief James Harris, Seabird Island Band. “This project will make an impact on overcrowding issues in our current homes and will provide accessible living spaces for our Elders and others with accessibility needs. It will also offer low-income housing close to our community core and our health, education and community services. Housing is a long-standing issue for First Nations across Canada, and Seabird is no exception. 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 BC Housing.”
The development will be built at the intersection of Pipeho:m Road and Steqoye Road, and it will be within walking distance of the Band's office and the community's health-care, education and cultural centres. These include the Seabird Health Centre, the Early Childhood Development Centre and the soon-to-be developed Seabird Community and Cultural Centre.
The Province is providing $20.6 million to the project. Construction is expected to begin in March 2024.
Seabird Island is in the upper Fraser Valley, three kilometres northeast of Agassiz. It is a self-sufficient First Nations community that has jurisdiction over its own K-12 education, provides health care both to its own members and those of the neighbouring First Nations, and promotes a healthier, self-governing and unified way of living.
"This announcement marks the start of another important housing collaboration between our government and First Nations communities in the province," said Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. “Our government will continue to work with Indigenous Peoples to build affordable housing that can ease the burden on Elders, members and families.”
The project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has delivered more than 76,000 new homes that have been completed or are underway, including more than 500 homes in the Chilliwack-Kent region.
- The Halq’émeylēm name for the Seabird Island reserve is Sq’éwqel, which translates to “turn in the river.”
- The English designation of Seabird Island is derived from the June 1858 grounding of the transport paddle-wheeler Sea Bird on an island bar in the Fraser River across from Sq'éwqel.
To learn about government's Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/