The Squamish First Nation has broken ground on the Senakw housing development, which aims to add 6,000 units of housing to downtown Vancouver.
Senakw was originally a Squamish village at the mouth of False Creek near the south end of the Burrard Bridge. Prior to colonization, families from upper Squamish villages would travel down to Senákw, where the lands and waters were ideal for fishing, hunting, and harvesting traditional resources.
Construction is ready to begin this year and Squamish says the project will be finished in under five years. Once completed, Senakw will be the first large-scale net zero housing development in Canada and the largest Indigenous economic project in Canadian history.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen and Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Everyone should have a safe and affordable place to call home,” Trudeau said. “Today we’re building more homes for Vancouverites and we’re partnering with the Squamish First Nation on its path to economic independence.”
Trudeau said the federal government will provide a $1.4 billion low-interest loan through the rental construction financing initiative to build close to 3,000 homes within the Senakw development.