Federal money helps Kashechewan continue work on housing
Kashechewan is looking to build new houses over the next two years thanks to a $3.25 million investment from the federal government.
The new houses will help the growing need for shelter that Kashechewan Chief Jonathon Solomon said comes as a result of a rapidly growing population.
“We are one of the fastest growing communities along the coast; there’s over 40 kids born every year,” Solomon said.
Solomon said the investment would allow skilled tradesmen from the community to build quality homes for the people who need them.
The chief noted that his community is currently drafting a short-term housing strategy to address the most critical priorities, which include overcrowding and homes that are too old.
“It cannot be resolved overnight because, just like any other First Nation, we have a long list of people that require housing,” he said.
The federal money is part of an on-going commitment to implement a 2007 agreement calling for redevelopment of a healthy and sustainable community at the community’s present location on the Albany River near the west coast of James Bay.
“This investment will allow the Kashechewan First Nation to make strides in addressing their housing shortage,” said Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister John Duncan in a press release. “This collaborative step shows that working together is delivering important results for the people of Kashechewan.”
Solomon said the foundation work is “the killer in regards to the cost” but it needs to be done so the house will not begin falling apart in three to four years.
“When we do construction, we have to do what we can to build a reliable quality home,” Solomon said. “When we build a house, we have to dig seven-eight feet down and then fill it with gravel. We have to scrape off the soil and the muskeg. You have to go down to the solid clay.”
The agreement to redevelop a healthy and sustainable community was signed by Solomon, former INAC minister Jim Prentice and former health minister Tony Clement in 2007.
The plans called for a comprehensive community planning and redevelopment process to address priority areas, including skills development, on-reserve housing, socio-economic sustainability, health programs and facilities, public safety, infrastructure development, remediation and maintenance and schools and community facilities.
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