Anyone travelling on the Sunshine Coast Highway past Selma Park will have noticed a recent change in the landscape: clearing for shíshálh Nation’s new subdivision is now under way.
shíshálh Nation Councillor Alvina Paul said the civil work will hopefully be completed by this fall, then building construction can begin. After the brushing and clearing currently happening, the next stage will be water, hydro and sewers, which will be underground.
Phase 1 of the multi-phase project will include 45 lots of the project’s total 180 housing units. Of the 45 lots, 40 will be for single-family homes, three quadplexes and two lots for duplexes. Once complete, the subdivision will include a mix of properties for rent or mortgaged by Nation members.
These details are not hammered in stone, Paul said. “It will be flexible for any needs that the Nation might be lacking. After Our House of Clans, we need to see how that impacts the housing list.”
The project, which is estimated to cost $10 million for the first phase, is partially covered by an infrastructure grant from the federal government, Paul said.
Selective logging at the Selma Park site was delayed last year after an environmental study discovered bird nests, including an eagle’s nest. A biologist has since assessed the area and assured the Nation the nests would not be impacted, Paul said. Clearing began about three weeks ago.
“Our housing list was exponential,” Paul said. “We had a list of approximately 180 Nation members.”
In total, the Nation has about 1,500 members, but only about 700 live in the community or on the Coast. Providing more affordable housing has been a priority for Nation council for years.
Selma Park is “a very important project to get up and running in regards to addressing the needs of our Nation members,” Paul said, and has been discussed for 20 years.
Three housing projects in progress
shíshálh Nation has two more housing projects actively being worked on: Our House of Clans and a rapid housing project near Ted Dixon park in the Porpoise Bay area.
The three duplexes are being built for Nation members at the corner of Kwetilin Street and Kwatamus Avenue, after the recommendations from staff and with funding and supports from BC Housing. Work at that site began three to four weeks ago, and it’s expected to be up and occupied within six months, Paul said.
Construction of Our House of Clans began in December 2020, but is currently behind schedule. Paul said they hope to have it move-in ready by this fall, but it will likely be ready next spring.
The housing at 5573 Sunshine Coast Hwy will include around 34 rental units for Nation members.
“We are prioritizing housing this term,” Paul said.