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Critically needed housing coming for the shíshálh

Critically needed housing coming for the shíshálh

July 30, 2021 at 2:24 pm  BC, News, Politics

The Government of B.C. is supporting the shíshálh Nation’s plans to build and operate new culturally appropriate housing for their members, with a particular focus on Elders, women and children, and others in need of affordable housing in their community.  

“Like First Nations across B.C. and Canada, housing is a perennial and serious challenge,” said hiwus (Chief) Warren Paull of the shíshálh Nation. “shíshálh has been working for years to expand affordable housing, both to advance the well-being of our citizens and to enable more of them to return home. The support from B.C. is critical to making this housing expansion possible and is another indication of how the principled partnership established in our Foundation Agreement is successfully advancing reconciliation consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Province will contribute $9 million over three years to the shíshálh Nation to help with their growing need for affordable housing and to support economic development. This contribution is part of the Government of B.C.’s commitment to the shíshálh Nation under the 2018 Foundation Agreement, which sets out a comprehensive path for reconciliation. The Foundation Agreement commits the Province to provide lands to the shíshálh Nation for residential development, either by providing 80 hectares of Crown land or providing a financial contribution for the purchase of private lands.

“Indigenous-led residential development ensures that Indigenous families and Elders can live in their communities, surrounded by their culture and loved ones,“ said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Through the Foundation Agreement, we are able to support the shíshálh Nation in filling critical community housing needs, supporting growth for the Nation and the entire Sechelt region.”

In 2020, the shíshálh Nation bought 176 hectares (397 acres) of land in Porpoise Bay. The waterfront property, previously known as the Sechelt Sustainable Community, is approximately 4 kilometres from Sechelt.  

The shíshálh Nation plans to develop the land for residential use, with some additional economic growth opportunities, including industrial and recreational development on the waterfront and a potential partnership for a hotel. The purchased land, named ts’ayemay by the Elders, is adjacent to existing shíshálh Nation land and has strong cultural significance for the shíshálh. The Province’s contribution will help with the costs related to the land purchase and some planning costs. The remainder of the project costs will be provided by the Nation.

“Affordable, accessible and culturally appropriate housing for Elders, families and individuals is very much needed in our region,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “We are proud to be working with the shíshálh Nation in a long-term, government-to-government relationship, addressing needs like housing that benefit everyone in the community and people all across the Lower Sunshine Coast.”

The 2018 Foundation Agreement recognizes and respects shíshálh title and rights, and supports self-determination and shíshálh self-government. A key part of the agreement includes the establishment of a landmark government-to-government working relationship to create new decision-making structures between the Province and shíshálh government. Other key components include land transfers, economic and socio-cultural investments, establishment of a land-use planning process and joint aspirational long-term commitments.

The agreement represents a progressive and collaborative approach to the implementation of shíshálh title and rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Quick Facts:

  • The shíshálh Nation is located on the Sechelt Peninsula of the Sunshine Coast, 50 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. The shíshálh Nation covers 514,520 hectares of land that stretches from xenichen (northern end of Jervis Inlet) to kalpilin (Pender Harbour), from kwekwenis (Lang Bay) in the west and xwesam (Roberts Creek) in the southeast.
  • As of Feb. 16, 2021, the Province transferred Crown lands referred to as the Gravel Lands land to the shíshálh Nation, fulfilling a commitment under the 2018 Foundation Agreement.

Learn More:

Information on the shíshálh Nation: www.shishalh.com

Learn more about agreements between the Province and shíshálh online:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/sechelt-sh-sh-lh-first-nation

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