NANAIMO, B.C. – The Snuneymuxw First Nation has joined B.C. Housing, the City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools in a partnership to develop three properties on Fifth Street and Howard Avenue.
Announced in December 2018, the project has been named the Te’tuxwtun Project.
Priorities for the project include:
- new affordable rental housing;
- a new location for the Learning Alternatives school district program;
- the integration of culture, parks and recreation services; and
- the incorporation of other community services such as health services and childcare.
Snuneymuxw First Nation will guide the growth and development of the three properties - bringing a wealth of cultural knowledge to the project.
A project Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the project partners was signed on 2019-Dec-03. The signed copy and photos from the signing can be viewed below in the Documents tab.
Members of the community will be invited to a public information session in the coming months, and will be provided with opportunities to give feedback on the project throughout the development process. More information will be available on BC Housing's website: www.bchousing.org/nanaimo-tetuxwtun
Chief Michael Wyse - Snuneymuxw First Nation quote
"Snuneymuxw First Nations' journey of healing and growth is years in the making. The Te'tuxwtun Project is but another unique partnership in which we honor the land of our ancestors as well as future generations of all peoples here in Nanaimo. Hay tseep qa to our partners at all levels of government for their work on this truly exceptional journey."
Chief Executive Officer Shayne Ramsay - B.C. Housing quote
"BC Housing supports true and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province. We are truly honoured to look to the mountain to view these great lands through an ancestral lens in a collaborative partnership that create a more equitable and inclusive future for this community."
Mayor Leonard Krog - City of Nanaimo quote
"The City of Nanaimo's collaboration in the Te'tuxwtun project reflects Council's priority to renew and strengthen relations with Snuneymuxw First Nation. We are honoured to join our partners to co-create a safe, healing, welcoming community space at Te'tuxwtun that reflects our shared vision."
Board Char Charlene McKay - Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School quote
"The school district is honoured to have embarked on this unprecedented journey for our community in a project to benefit future generations. Truth and Reconciliation is a meaningful goal in the district and it is what guides and influences our actions as we walk together in learning and in extraordinary partnerships such as Te'tuxwtun Project."
The objective of the Te’tuxwtun Project is to create a Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan for three properties located on Harewood Avenue [i.e. the old Harewood School site (505 Howard Avenue), the adjoining playing field (502 Howard Avenue), and the nearby Sanala Housing site (564 Fifth Street). The School District owns the land at 505 Howard Avenue, the City the land at 502 Howard Avenue, and B.C. Housing the land at 564 Fifth Street. Te’tuxwtun is the Snuneymuxw name for Mt. Benson.
Priorities for the project site include development of new affordable rental housing; a new location for the School District’s Learning Alternatives Program; the integration of culture, parks and recreation services; and the incorporation of other community services such as health services and childcare.
The Project is a unique collaboration between the following Knowledge Partners – Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, B.C. Housing and the City of Nanaimo. As noted in the Project MOU, “the Te’tuxwtun Knowledge Partners have been inspired to work in a unique way, securing a relationship that is as seamless as the land itself. The depth of this connectivity is such that the partners’ efforts will become inseparable. It is the intention of the partners to become a force, enhancing the community through housing, services and amenities, to be a benefit to many. All intend to complete the project described herein and wish to continue to honour this sacred respectful relationship to achieve the mutually desirable objectives of all four Partners.”
The Snuneymuxw First Nation will guide the growth and development of the three properties – bringing a wealth of cultural knowledge to the project. One example of this knowledge includes the following observation contained in the Project MOU: “It is an interesting condition of the property at 564 Fifth Street that when viewed from above, there appears to be a shape pointing to the base of Mount Benson. While it is a man-made phenomenon, it is a clear sign to ‘look to the Mountain.’ In Indigenous culture, the idea of “looking to the mountain” offers a remarkable metaphor for viewing a situation form a different viewpoint. When discussing an important topic where there may be a difference of opinion, someone might say, “look to the mountain” as a way to ask the person(s) or parties to examine their position differently or to see a different point of view. As we, the partners – SFN, NLPS, CoN , and BC Housing – embark on this journey of creation, partnership, and collaboratively working towards a more equitable and inclusive future, we all need to look to the mountain often to ask for help in finding our way forward.”
It is the Knowledge Partners’ stated vision “to work collaboratively to create a relationship-based community – a village grounded in ancestral knowledge. The partners hope to inspire a way of living that will reveal the interconnectedness and importance of the sacred mountain scape and the glorious seaway. The Te’tuxwtun Project, built on the teachings of the land, will provide the foundation to both protect and improve the quality of life for all present and future community members”.
Members of the community will be invited to a public information session in the coming months, and will be provided with opportunities to give feedback on the project throughout the development process.
It is anticipated that the project process will formally commence with the signing of the Project MOU (2019-Dec-03) and will be completed by the end of 2020 with the endorsement of a comprehensive land use plan by the Knowledge Partners.
Additional Background Information:
- Council approved a previous version of the MOU on 2018-Aug-13. This has been replaced by a new MOU signed on 2019-Dec-03.
- In early 2019, a project Steering Committee was formed to guide the project and make key decisions. As part of the formation of the committee, the Snuneymuxw First Nation Government joined the other government partners. Collectively the members of the Steering Committee proposed the creation of a new MOU that reflects Snuneymuxw’s important role as one of the four “Knowledge Partners”. The new MOU outlines how the Partners will work together within a framework that reflects Snuneymuxw’s cultural teachings to complete a comprehensive land use plan. In keeping with this approach, the project has been named the Te’tuxwtun (Mount Benson) Project to reflect Snuneymuxw’s teachings relating to the mountain and its position overlooking the project lands.
- The Te’tuxwtun Steering Committee is responsible for completing the project Terms of Reference and hiring consultants to undertake the planning process. It is anticipated that consultant selection (Lead consultant and Community Engagement Consultant) will be completed by February, 2020. Community engagement is a very important and integral part of the planning process that will get underway following the hiring of the consultants. B.C. Housing’s existing housing tenants and operator (Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre), along with other users of the properties owned by the City and School District will be involved in the engagement process. Engagement will also involve a wide diversity of other community members and organizations such as the Harewood Neighbourhood Association and numerous other agencies that provide services to the community’s children, youth, families and elders.