Duplexes in the Elkridge residential community on Elkridge Drive on the WFN reserve.—Image: contributed

Westbank First Nation reports increase in building activity

2017 was the fourth busiest year for building on WFN reserves since 2005

The Westbank First Nation says it saw significant building growth on its reserves in 2017, processing 169 building permits with a total construction value of $45 million.

That marked a 23 per cent increase in the number of building permits approved, and a 96 per cent increase in total construction value, compared to 2016. Last year, the WFN reports $38 million of residential construction, $6 million of commercial construction and $1 million of institutional construction.

Permits for 149 new residential dwellings were approved in 2017, including single family homes, multi-family units, and secondary suites. This is a 64 per cent unit increase from the 91 residential units approved in 2016. Major projects included Elkridge, Sage Creek, Nancee Way Village, West Harbour, Sierras Westside, and Brookside Villas.

Since gaining self-government 2005, the WFN has processed 2,203 building permits valued at more than $500 million. Last year was the fourth busiest year for WFN in terms of building permit approval since 2005, with the highest number of annual building permit approvals occurring in 2007.

Building and business growth aligned with continued population growth on WFN lands, which increased 28 per cent from 2011 to 2016 according to Statistics Canada. The increase in building and population growth also accompanied an increase in approved business licenses. The WFN approved 69 new business licenses in 2017, increasing the total number of businesses operating on WFN lands to 457.

“The immediate development growth within WFN lands is anticipated to carry on at a strong pace as we continue to receive a good mix of residential and commercial development inquiries,” said Joe Mocilac, WFN director of development services.

“New developments continue to come forward and existing projects are looking to build additional phases.”

According to the WFN, new master servicing plans are being finalized for all major infrastructure and a new land use law will be completed in the next few months. The new plans and law will help guide, assess and plan current, and future, infrastructure upgrades.

“As a growing and developing community, WFN looks to continually improve local infrastructure by installing more sidewalks, lighting, utility corridors, pathways and bike lanes,” said Chief Roxanne Lindley.

“WFN also strives to showcase our vibrant culture and heritage through the incorporation of syilx art and language where possible throughout the community.”

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