Ottawa Group Housing inks advantages settlement, collaborates with close by First Nation on new improvement

Ali Topan

Ottawa is constructed on unceded land, that means it was by no means surrendered to Canada in a treaty negotiation. In essence, each constructing created within the metropolis nonetheless sits on Algonquin land, together with new neighborhood housing.

Now, Ottawa’s largest neighborhood housing supplier is about to deepen its assist of native Indigenous communities by way of a brand new neighborhood advantages settlement, in addition to by integrating Algonquin design components into a brand new improvement.

The neighborhood advantages settlement will construct on an present program that’s valued at $535,000 yearly. It formalizes entry to training and employment alternatives for these dwelling in Ottawa neighborhood housing. Different cities like Toronto and Vancouver have necessary neighborhood advantages agreements, however the metropolis of Ottawa nonetheless lags on the problem.

Advantages agreements implement a community-centric strategy to developments within the metropolis, significantly round employment and procurement from native companies and tasks. In different phrases, cash and assets have to profit individuals inside a neighborhood, particularly weak and equity-seeking teams, somewhat than permitting improvement to favour others past the town’s inhabitants.

“[Indigenous Peoples] want greater than a free-market resolution,” Warren Water, a member of the Ottawa advantages settlement steering committee, mentioned in an interview.

There aren’t any Indigenous-specific packages as a part of the advantages settlement, however it would serve weak teams, similar to new Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and the LGBTQ2S neighborhood, Stéphane Giguère, CEO for the Ottawa Group Housing Company (OCHC), mentioned in an interview.

“Collectively, with our companions, we’re persevering with to create an inclusive and equitable native economic system the place everybody thrives,” Giguère mentioned in a press launch.

Employment and academic improvement are central to OCHC’s advantages settlement. One instance consists of its partnership with Tomorrow’s Trades. This system will provide pre-apprenticeship packages inside OCHC’s buildings. Schooling and neighborhood tasks can then be performed facet by facet, for instance — taking good care of a constructing’s retrofit wants or development of neighborhood benches. Then, as soon as a participant finishes a full apprenticeship program, OCHC will welcome them to use for positions, Giguère mentioned.

“It’s lifting the tide,” Yasir Naqvi, MP for Ottawa Centre, mentioned about the advantages settlement.

Nonetheless, it’s one in every of OCHC’s new buildings that opened the company to the concept of creating partnerships with an Indigenous neighborhood close to the town.

Indigenous communities want greater than free-market options to systemic inequities. Ottawa Group Housing’s advantages settlement, alongside a brand new improvement challenge in partnership with Pikwakanagan, will provide some options.

The OCHC labored in session with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and the Alongquins of Ontario on its new improvement on Mikinak Highway, Giguère mentioned.

The inside and exterior design components are supposed to educate and honour the richness of Algonquin tradition and historical past. Public areas might be named in Algonquin to honour the Algonquin Nation and educate of us about Algonquin tradition. The color scheme of the event will embrace seven vibrant colors to mirror every of the Seven Grandfather Teachings, a central element of the Anishinaabe worldview.

There can even be a number of devoted models for Indigenous Peoples and households who search inexpensive housing contained in the constructing. Nonetheless, the event isn’t solely for Indigenous Peoples.

The partnership with Pikwakanagan developed out of a necessity to make sure consultations with native communities, Giguère mentioned. It’s why there might be devoted models for Indigenous Peoples on Mikinak Highway when it finishes in 2024.

“How we construct relationships inside ourselves is how we honour our neighborhood,” Giguère mentioned.

Matteo Cimellaro / Native Journalism Initiative / Canada’s Nationwide Observer

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