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Squamish Nation to use BC residential tenancy protections for own housing developments

Tenants in a Squamish Nation development will have the same rights and protections as those throughout the province
The Squamish Nation will follow the provincial government’s British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act (BCRTA). | Jennifer Thuncher/The Squamish Chief files

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) has announced it will adopt the same protections used for rental homes throughout the province for Sen̓áḵw, its high-density project at Kits point, and all future on-reserve housing developments.

The Nation will follow the protections detailed in the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act (BCRTA) through the federal government’s First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA), which allows First Nations to use certain provincial regulations to ensure better economic development on their reserves.

This marks the first time in B.C. that the FNCIDA has been used to apply provincial regulations on rental developments on reserve land.

“By using FNCIDA to implement British Columbia’s Residential Tenancy Act, our Nation will have more control over how we manage current and future developments,” said Squamish Nation spokesperson Sxwíxwtn (Wilson Williams).

“It allows us to raise standards and ensure that future residents will be protected. Most importantly, any dispute resolution will be managed in a process consistent with Squamish ways, informed by our traditions and heritage.”

With the BCRTA protections in place tenants will follow the same policies they would in any other rental property in the province, including those concerning maximum allowable rent increases, Indigenous-led approaches to dispute resolution, property maintenance and protection against unfair evictions.

The protections will also be used for the Nation’s Hiy̓ ám Housing, affordable housing projects in North Vancouver, including Estítkw Place at Capilano Road, Eskékxwi7ch tl’a Sp’áḵw’us Place at Government Road, and Chenkw Em̓ út at Mathias Road.

The 6000-house Sen̓áḵw development project, which officially went underway in 2019, will be carried out in four stages of construction with development spread evenly across each. The first, located close to Burrard Bridge, is expected to be completed by 2025/2026.

Earlier this year, the Nation announced it would also be developing its reserves, with a focus on its North Shore locations within the Marine Drive area of Xwmélch’sten Capilano I.R. No. 5 near Capilano Road, and the Ch’ich’élx̱wí7 ḵw Seymour Indian Reserve No. 2 near Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

Attention will also be given to the Sunshine Coast at the Ch’ ḵw’elhp Indian Reserve No. 26, and at the Stá7mes Indian Reserve No. 24 in the District of Squamish, with all to receive housing, industrial land development, and amenities for the community.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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