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Indigenous-led partnership aims to build ‘climate-resilient’ homes for Lytton

The housing initiative will provide housing for fire evacuees by Sept. 2022

The Kanaka Bar Indian Band has entered into an agreement with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, Foresight Canada and Seko construction to develop new “climate-resilient” housing for evacuees of the devastating Lytton wildfire.

The project is expected to reveal sustainable new build and retrofitting solutions not only for Kanaka Bar’s members and Lytton residents but also all Canadians looking to make their homes resilient to extreme weather events.

“We are delighted to bring together leaders in applied research and innovation to tackle the urgent need to build back our region,” Kanaka Bar Indian Band Chief Patrick Michell said. “We are combining the power of our community with the latest building practices to ensure new housing and its supporting systems, as well as older buildings in the region, are made sustainable and climate-resilient.”

Over the next 10 months, the group will work to develop foundational options for rebuilding in the Lytton region. They’ll set to work soon on applied research and community engagement to determine the scope of the project. From there, an innovation challenge will be issued by Foresight and SAIT to source resilient and sustainable commercially available solutions and construction products needed to rebuild housing structures.

Once the winners of the innovation challenge are selected, the group will work to construct four to eight housing structures with a move-in date of Sept. 2022.

The project will conclude with the construction of four to eight housing structures with a move-in date of Sept. 2022.

On the same day the partnership was announced, the Insurance Bureau of Canada announced that insurance losses in Lytton have risen to $102 million mostly because of delays in rebuilding the village.

Bureau vice-president Arron Sutherland says it’s been more than six months since the fire ripped through Lytton but there are no permits to rebuild homes or businesses and greater urgency is needed.

“The ongoing uncertainty only makes this devastating situation even harder for many impacted residents,” Sutherland said.

The community is an area of archeological importance to local First Nations and Sutherland says it’s critical that a respectful process begins immediately to remove debris so that significant items can be protected.

- With files from the Canadian Press

READ MORE: From smoke to devastation: 23 minutes in Lytton

READ MORE: Delays push cost to rebuild fire-damaged Lytton to $102M: insurance bureau


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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