Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Marc Miller, was on the Sunshine Coast July 8 to announce $9.1 million in funding for the shíshálh Nation subdivision near Selma Park.
"We greatly appreciate the investment by Canada," shíshálh Nation hiwus (Chief) Warren Paull told Coast Reporter. "There are going to be 44 families or maybe more." The housing plans include duplexes and maybe even a quadplex said Paull.
Work started in March on phase one of the subdivision, slated to cost $10 million. The civil work – water, hydro, sewers – is expected to be completed by late October, then building construction can begin.
Once complete, the subdivision will include a mix of properties for rent or mortgaged by Nation members. Other projects the nation is working on include Our House of Clans and a rapid housing project near Ted Dixon park in the Porpoise Bay area.
The funding is from the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund (ICIF) part of the 2021 federal budget, which designated $4.3 billion for the program over four years. Approximately $517 million of that was allocated for modern treaty and self-government partners's community-led infrastructure and housing projects.
"Access to infrastructure, which includes well-built homes, is vital to any community's well-being," Miller said in the press release. "We are confident that with this historic investment, the shíshálh Nation will continue to build their own path to self-determination. We remain committed to working closely with Indigenous partners and communities to advance shared priorities."
"We are pleased to welcome Minister Miller into our swiya today to engage in dialogue about the important nation-to-nation work we have in front of us to further reconciliation and to work to eliminate socio-economic gaps," said Paull in the press release. "The funding received is an important step in addressing the significant housing need within our community. There is much work left to be done and more investments that need to be made, but with good hearts and minds we know transformative change can happen quickly."
"This generational housing investment will provide shelter to address urgent housing needs while enhancing community vitality for the shíshálh Nation," said Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country in an emailed statement. "We are proud to deliver this funding and will continue to work with the nation and all partners on our many shared goals and priorities."
–With files from Keili Bartlett