The federal government has announced the completion of a new 14-unit affordable housing building for the Indigenous community of Lower Nicola.

On Thursday, Nov. 16, members of Lower Nicola Indian Band and members of the federal government gathered at the new building located at 2794 Cougar Crescent. The building contains one-bedroom to three-bedroom units, with a few of them labeled as accessible and adaptable.

Jenica Atwin, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous services, called the project an essential step in the reconciliation process.

“Ensuring that you have a safe place to call home and your chosen community is a crucial step in creating a prosperous, successful future for you and your families,” she said.

Atwin added that the federal government’s ongoing cooperation with Indigenous communities continues to be an important aspect to ensuring current First Nations community members and future ones have a prosperous future.

She said that the project at Lower Nicola is one of the many projects that have been completed or are under construction in First Nations’ communities.

“Through the support of the Rapid Housing Initiative, new homes will help address the urgent need for housing for First Nations in their communities and across the province,” she said. 

Also present at the announcement, Lower Nicola’s Chief Stuart Jackson called the day a “monumental day.” 

Lower Nicola Indian Band Chief Stuart Jackson. Photo/Laisa Conde

“It’s a great honour to be here today and to have you witness a groundbreaking of a housing opportunity and housing availability for our membership,” he said.

Chief Jackson added that the percentage of band members who live off the reserve is high, and the units give them an opportunity to come back home.

“We have 14 units here that are now made and readily available for some of our members to come back home, come back to our land.”