New homes to be built at Esketemc community

The Esketemc First Nations (Alkali Lake) is doing business a little differently.

The Esketemc First Nations (Alkali Lake) is doing business a little differently.

Aside from building new housing stock more cheaply than the single-family residential homes traditionally built on reserves, the community is looking to establish a model of home ownership that the majority of Canadians enjoy.

According to Eddy Davis, Esketemc operations manager, the constraints of federal funding have historically resulted in “substandard housing because they (bands) don’t get enough money to build the houses properly.”

Up against a financial wall, Davis set out with the idea to design and build durable and aesthetically pleasing housing that could be built by the community at a fraction of the cost. He contacted an Okanagan building-supply company that provided the timber for the timber-frame homes.

What Davis and the Esketemc First Nations discovered were the homes could be built by trained community members quickly and cheaply — estimated at approximately $85 per square foot compared to $140 per square foot for a stick-frame home.

Davis believes the cost savings is a direct result of using local labour and fewer and different materials that don’t require as many tradespeople to carry out the work.

“The timber framing is a huge cost savings right there. When you do stick frame you have the drywall and the mudding and the taping, the painting and the insulating and those are all separate processes and they usually have separate tradespeople coming in to do each one,” he says.

The idea was also to eliminate the need for drywall that can be prone to mould. The six-unit, three bedroom, 1,200-square-feet homes are built using eight by eight timbers — in this case beetle-kill wood — laid on top of each other and coated with a seal.

In-floor heating operating on a centralized wood boiler system has been installed to heat the units.

That, says Davis, was another cost-saving measure.

Community members can expect to move in beginning in May.

Another unique feature of the six-plex is that in the future it will be bought and sold.

“We’re in the process of implementing a home ownership program,” says Davis. “We want to institute this within our community.  But because the land is held by the federal government, the band cannot sell the land the homes sit on until the treaty process is complete.”

In the meantime, new homeowners will hold a lease on a specific piece of property.

The benefit of home ownership is threefold: pride in ownership, less financial responsibility for the band as mortgages are held by individuals, and the creation of potential revenue streams as the band creates a company — of community members trained as certified builders for the timber-frame style of construction — that can build the homes in other communities.

Davis says the community has had some concerns about maintaining its integrity if homes are for sale on the open market.

“We’re still talking about it but the general consensus so far is realistically how many people are going to come out here and start buying houses?”

Concern has mingled with increasing interest as community members come to realize they have greater choice under the home ownership model.

Davis expects the band — the holder of the six-plex’s mortgage — won’t make a profit when selling the homes. That will come later.

“Normally the home builder wants to make a profit but I think all we’re wanting to do here is break even and provide low-cost affordable great housing for community members and put profit aside,” he says.

“When we start building outside our community, then we will look for profit.  But for our community members I think we want to keep it as affordable as we can.”

Just Posted

Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. To reduce long lines and wait times the first 1,000 Surrey residents to arrive at the neighbourhood clinic on both Monday and Tuesday will receive wristbands and a same-day appointment. The effort is in addition to the provincial vaccination plan which is now open for bookings to anyone who is 18 years and older. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
69 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Interior Health

The province, in total, recorded 411 new cases showing a downtrend of new infections

Bella Coola Valley. (Scott Carrier photo)
Nuxalk Nation closes recreation, sports fisheries at Bella Coola due to COVID-19 concerns

Nobody is supposed to be travelling, said marine use manager Peter Siwallace

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Most Read