A First Nation in the Lytton area is leading the charge on climate resiliency.
The chief of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band (T'eqt''aqtn'mux) has announced an agreement with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to build climate-resilient housing for evacuees who lost their homes in the June 30, 2021, Lytton wildfire.
SAIT will lead a team that also includes Okanagan College, Foresight Canada and Seko Construction. Over the next 10 months, they will work with the Kanaka Bar Indian Band to create foundational options for rebuilding in the Lytton region.
“We are delighted to bring together leaders in applied research and innovation to tackle the urgent need to build back our region. We are combining the power of our community with the latest building practices to ensure new housing and its supporting systems, as well as older buildings in the region, are made sustainable and climate-resilient,” said Chief Patrick Michell.
Dr. Andrew Hay, Provost and Vice President Academic, Okanagan College said the college is looking forward to being involved with the innovative and collaborative applied research project. “This project will provide learners, educators, industry and community with real-world opportunities to pool their skills, knowledge and expertise, in the pursuit of a highly important and beneficial cause.”
Four to eight homes will be designed and built to test materials for climate resiliency, energy performance and affordability. The hope is it will lead to the adoption of the materials in rebuilding in the region, as well as appeal to other communities looking to find ways to prevent severe weather-related damage.
The Kanaka Bar Resilient Housing Solutions project involves several phases:
- Applied research and community engagement led by Chief Michell and SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS), specifically its Green Building Technologies (GBT) division, in collaboration with Okanagan College, Foresight and Seko Construction.
- An Innovation Challenge will be issued by Foresight and SAIT to source resilient and sustainable commercially available solutions and construction products needed to rebuild housing structures. The solutions will meet the criteria for BC Step code 5 with respect to fire/water/wind resiliency, energy efficiency, long-term sustainability and affordability.
- After selection of the Innovation Challenge winners, the initial phase of the project will conclude with the construction of four to eight housing structures ready for occupancy by September 2022.
In 2021, The Kanaka Bar Community Resilience Plan was voted “Top Project of the Year” by 130 sustainability leaders at the Clean50 Summit held in Toronto.