Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (TFN) celebrated the opening of a unique housing complex on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Located on Tla-o-qui-aht Territory in Tofino, the infrastructure project involved converting shipping containers into 16 studio suites and five family homes.
Indigenous Services Canada contributed $1.5 million and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provided $905,000 for the new housing complex project, according to a press release issued by Indigenous Services of Canada.
Shawn Quick and his family received the first set of keys to their new home during Thursday’s grand opening.
Lead builder for TFN, Wayne Hawthornthwaite from Coast Mountain Construction, said the demonstration project had its fair share of challenges when it came to meeting B.C.’s building code. He said the shipping containers have a roof like a regular house and hardy plank siding. The new homes use electric baseboard heaters.
In addition to addressing housing needs, training TFN for the workforce was also a key component of the shipping container project; North Island College offered a ten-week carpentry program to First Nations community members.
The housing complex will be operated by the Economic Development department within TFN administration. Applications to live in the new First Nations housing complex have already started coming in, notes TFN Housing Manager Ivy Bell.