Trudeau: $1.4B will help build Sen̓áḵw project in Vancouver

It represents the largest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation loan in Canadian history.

A rendering shows the Sen̓áḵw project's design.

A rendering shows the design of an Indigenous-led development in Vancouver. – Squamish Nation

The federal government will contribute $1.4 billion to an Indigenous-led development in Vancouver. The funding will help create nearly 3,000 homes on traditional lands in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood as part of the Sen̓áḵw project. The funding agreement is the largest First Nations economic partnership and the largest loan from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in Canadian history.

Addressing the past

Sen̓áḵw is an on-reserve residential and commercial development project that will be owned and operated by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). Sen̓áḵw, which means “the place inside the head of False Creek,” is located on land that was forcibly taken away from the Squamish Nation in the early 1900s and returned by the courts in 2003. The ancient Sen̓áḵw village, located on this land, was burned down and the people who lived there were forced to relocate.

“The Squamish Nation and the federal government’s partnership to support the residential development of Sen̓áḵw is a historic moment in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous communities,”  said Squamish Nation Council Chairperson Khelsilem. “This economic partnership is the largest in Canadian history between a First Nation and the federal government. This investment will build many needed rental apartments and generate long-term wealth for Squamish People across many generations. The wealth generated from these lands can then be recirculated into our local economies and communities to address our people’s urgent needs for affordable housing, education, and social services.”

A rendering shows the site plan for the Sen̓áḵw development. – Squamish Nation

Indigenous-led design

The Sen̓áḵw development project was proposed by the Squamish Nation, Westbank Corporation, and OP Trust, under a joint venture, working with the Government of Canada.

In total, the Sen̓áḵw development project will create 6,000 homes when complete. The Government of Canada has committed to financing the first two of the four phases.

The project’s design features Coast Salish architecture and design across a ten-acre site, over half of which will be publicly accessible, with green spaces, parks, and plazas. Everyone in the community, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, will be able to live at Sen̓áḵw. 

Existing with nature

The Nation stated that Sen̓áḵw’s vision will demonstrate how humanity and nature can co-exist, and the development aims to be the largest net-zero residential project in the country. This includes district energy and progressive, low carbon transportation options.

In addition to thousands of rental units, including affordable units, the project is expected to create hundreds of jobs and long-term economic opportunities for Indigenous people. Construction is already underway, with the first residents expected to move in in 2025.

“Everyone should have a safe place to call home,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who visited the project site for the announcement. “Today’s announcement not only builds more much-needed homes for Vancouverites, it supports the Squamish Nation’s vision for their traditional lands and their path to continued economic independence and self-determination. When we all work together as partners – federal and Indigenous governments, private sector, local communities – we innovate, and we find solutions to the challenges we face.”


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