Lake Babine Nation (LBN) has recently completed the construction of a six-plex, which is intended to provide affordable rental units for up to six LBN families.
The nation held an open house on Oct. 4 to inaugurate the new building, which is located in the Woyenne community, adjacent to Burns Lake.
According to Rhonda Brown, LBN’s housing manager, this project is a step in the right direction to deal with the area’s shortage of rental housing.
“Burns Lake has a shortage of housing units to rent and this will alleviate some of this issue,” she said. “We have a huge waitlist of members who live off reserve who want to move back to their respective communities.”
Brown said that in order to move forward with new construction, the nation has to run the six-plex “like a business,” to show funding agencies that LBN can effectively run a housing program. This includes rent collection, which is expected to pay for the building’s maintenance and repairs. Tenants will be charged $550 per month.
The two-bedroom units include a fridge, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher and microwave, as well as a wood stove.
The project was partially funded by the federal government, which paid $1.6 million of the $1.9 million cost. The remainder of the cost was covered by LBN.
The six tenants are expected to move in after Nov. 1, 2018.
New Natural Resources building ready to roll
Another major project recently completed by Lake Babine Nation (LBN) is a Natural Resources building.
According to LBN housing manager Rhonda Brown, the nation’s natural resources staff – who work with government and industry on issues that affect the nation such as forestry – moved into the building at the end of September.
Located near The Pines, the new building houses approximately 20 offices, two board rooms and an archive room.
The $1.7 million building was partially funded by the provincial government, which contributed $950,000 toward the project. The remainder of the cost was covered by LBN.
Forestry is an essential part of LBN’s 25-year agreement currently being negotiated with the provincial government. In March 2017, the parties signed an interim Foundation Pathway Agreement that established the expectations for negotiating a Foundation Agreement.
“We are targeting mid-2019 to bring the agreement forward for ratification by the parties,” said the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in a statement last week.