Nuxalk Nation Housing Program Breaks New Ground in Bella Coola

Nuxalk Nation is building four new sustainable homes for members of their community. Photo by Emilee Gilpin

Nuxalk Nation is having a big impact on the landscape of Bella Coola and the lives of its members living there. The Nation has developed a groundbreaking housing program designed not only to build homes for its members, but to do so in an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable way.

The program was recently featured in two terrific articles by journalist Emilee Gilpin for the National Observer. Read them here and here.

Coast Funds contributed $1,603,435 to the construction and start-up of the Nuxalk longhouse restaurant in Bella Coola.

The homes are being built by apprentices from a Nuxalk-run carpentry program. The program connects Nuxalk students with skilled workers to construct buildings in their own community. Some of the projects created include a fisheries office, education building, chief’s building, and a new restaurant. The new longhouse designed restaurant was funded largely by Coast Funds and plans to open this Spring featuring a traditional First Nation inspired menu.

Perhaps the biggest undertaking is the construction of four new 388-square foot homes on the Nuxalk Nation’s reserve. In the past, consultants, and engineers from outside the community designed and built homes that were made for dry, warm conditions. They were a disaster for the west and cold climate on BC’s central coast.

By returning construction and design of homes to the people who live in the community, the housing program is ensuring the right places are being built. The buildings are equipped with solar panels, built to withstand the local climate, and built by members of the Nuxalk Nation.