New Affordable Housing Option for Elders in Prince Rupert

Brittany Webster

The Cedar Village Elders Housing in Prince Rupert is officially open and Metlakatla Development Corporation's CEO Harold Leighton says it's exciting to see the building open after several years working on the project.

Sitting on Green Street, the housing complex sports two cedar hats on the top of the building and is outfitted with wood panels and columns to display the importance of cedar to the Metlakatla community.

Liberal MLA and former housing minister, Rich Coleman, has been working closely with the Metlakatla Development Corporation on the project and said the building exceeded his expectations.

Coleman said the project highlighted to him the importance of elders housing and called the corporation pioneers in elders housing in BC. "You are an example that should be put on video and sent around to every First Nations community in BC to say 'You can do it too'. And I will congratulate the government that they've added more money into the Indigenous housing fund, because more needs to be done and now we have examples of how it can be done and how important it is to get it done."

The 32 units are available for rent to all elders, not just First Nations, and were each completed to be energy efficient, to allow for easy mobility with a walker or wheelchair, and to provide independence to elders.

Leighton says approximately 20 people will be moved into the complex before Christmas and the other units will be filled in the new year.

And in the built-to-scale cedar hats are gathering spaces that Leighton hopes to see filled with the community.

"We'd like the community to know that this facility is open to everyone, not just Metlakatla, and we'd like them to either come and live here or use the facility for other purposes. You know, we've got an industrial kitchen that you don't often see anywhere, we'd like to make use of it and we'd like to share with the community."

Yesterday afternoon a grand opening was held at the Cedar Village Elders Housing to bless the building and the many peices of artwork around the property, complete with lunch and site tours.

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