A first in the Chilcotin: Tl’etinqox builds six-unit Elders complex

An Elders complex is nearing completion in Tl’etinqox (Anaham). Launched before the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was delayed once the disease was declared a global health crisis. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
The units were purposely kept small as a means to require little upkeep while providing Elders with their basic required needs says Ashton Harry. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Zirnhelt Timber Frames carpenter Del Escott is proud to be working on the Elders complex at Tl’etinqox.(Rebecca Dyok photo)

Crucial holders of Indigenous tradition, knowledge, culture and values will have the opportunity for a living space of their own at a First Nations community west of Williams Lake.

Finishing touches are being added to the six cabin-like homes specifically designed for Tl’etinqox Elders.

“There was a lot of team effort in bringing this here, and it was something that has also been in our community comprehensive plan about having a safe space for elders,” said Tl’etinqox Government executive director and councillor Ashton Harry.

Tl’etinqox had initially envisioned one single complex for Elders who could then continue living on-reserve and not have to leave for other communities such as Williams Lake.

“But the funding that we applied for didn’t support that and this is what it supported,” Harry explained.

“It got us one step closer, so there still is a hope and there still is that drive to one day have that facility here so our elders aren’t leaving the community.”

Read More: A pit house for a Tsilhqot’in family

Nestled near the Elders centre where the community’s deteriorating ice rink once was, the units were strategically placed to form a circle.

“It’s exciting,” Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said. “We got the four different colors to represent the different races, and within our culture a circle often represents a lot — it represents the cycle of the seasons, cycle of life and that’s a continuation of beginning or end.”

Like many First Nations across the country, infrastructure is needed at Tl’etinqox for either what is lacking or to replace what has been deteriorating. Overcrowding is an issue and it’s believed most homes are chock full of mold.

“Every city you go into you see First Nations people living out on the street, and in rural First Nations communities like this don’t have adequate housing so there’s a big need,” Alphonse said.

“Probably about 60 per cent of our population live off-reserve, so we want to do as much we can to get accommodations to bring our people home.”

The siding, windows, walls and timber work of each unit was prefabricated in 150 Mile House by Zirnhelt Timber Frames before being transported more than 100 kilometers via Highway 20 to Tl’etinqox.

Each unit is approximately 640 square feet with an air of coziness captured through the natural beauty of timber.

“It’s really one of those projects that makes you want to get up in the morning and focus on,” said Sam Zirnhelt.

“It’s pretty special. Tl’etinqox was amazing to work with.”

The Elders complex is anticipated to be ready for the elders to move in by Nov 1. Each unit will rent for $250 per month.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ChilcotinIndigenous Housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

Quesnel was hit with unseasonably October snowfall earlier this week. More is on the way on Sunday, Oct. 25 and Monday, Oct. 26, and Quesnel and North Cariboo are under a winter storm warning. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
“Hazardous” weather expected for Quesnel: Environment Canada

10-20 cm of snow and freezing rain are expected to start Sunday night

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read