On June 5, members of Colwood Council and staff participated in a land blessing ceremony at 342 Wale Road with Esquimalt Nation Spiritual Elders MaryAnn Thomas, Elmer Thomas and hereditary Chief Edward Thomas. (City of Colwood/Website)

First Nations elders bless land for Colwood development

Development permit issued to the Aboriginal Land Trust for 124 units of affordable housing

The stalled Wale Road development site in Colwood is seeing some activity as First Nations elders blessed the land last week.

On June 5, members of Colwood Council and staff participated in a land blessing ceremony at 342 Wale Rd. with Esquimalt Nation Spiritual Elders MaryAnn Thomas, Elmer Thomas and Hereditary Chief Edward Thomas.

The ceremony is a way to acknowledge past activity on the land, express gratitude for present opportunities and welcome the future in a peaceful and positive way.

A development permit has been issued to the Aboriginal Land Trust for 124 units of affordable housing at the site.

The Aboriginal Land Trust Society will work with Yellowridge Construction to develop the rental units. Huu-ay-aht First Nations will assist with tenant selection and ongoing management, according to a February announcement.

“This project is desperately needed to address the affordable housing challenges facing Indigenous families in the area. This is an opportunity for all of us to work together to make things better for the less fortunate in B.C.,” said Chief Robert Dennis of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, in a February statement.

Yellowridge Construction is expected to begin site preparation work this week. The pond that has formed on the property will be drained in preparation for fill material to be brought it, according to the City of Colwood.

Construction is expected to progress quickly over the next 18 months with the Aboriginal Land Trust, in partnership with Lu-ma Native Housing and Yellow Sheet Construction, working with the City to obtain a building permit.

The project received a $24 million grant from the Province through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund.

“These new homes will increase the diversity of housing offered in Colwood’s town centre which is undergoing significant revitalization as construction progresses in the Colwood Corners development,” a City of Colwood statement reads.

“Tenants of the new development will benefit from its proximity to transit links, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, the Juan de Fuca Library, West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities, access to the ocean and beach at the Colwood waterfront and a growing number of nearby amenities.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

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