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District sets aside land for housing project

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle, April 12 2024

By Kathy O’Reilly

District of Port Hardy council has agreed to set aside a piece of land for a culturally supportive housing project.

The land, requested by the Sanala Housing Society, led by the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society,  is located on Douglas Street adjacent to the North Island Mall as you enter the centre of town, near the hospital, medical clinic, and other amenities.

“It’s on the right-hand side of the highway just before Applewood,” said Mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt, who is council’s representative on the Sanala Culturally Supportive Housing Society, at the regular council meeting March 26.

“There’s a natural buffer to the residential properties below it,” Corbett-Labatt said.

The property “is one of the only pieces that the district owns that is in close proximity to all of the amenities that are required for supportive housing - that being access to health services, transit, food, walkable distances” and is fairly flat, said Chief Administrative Officer Heather Nelson-Smith.

“It checks all of the boxes with regards to supportive housing. This is one of the sites that we had identified a number of years ago when we were talking to BC Housing with regards to supportive housing in the District of Port Hardy,” Nelson-Smith said.

“The services for this property for water, sewer and drainage all run along a portion which would remain treed and act as a buffer between the two (the MacMillan Bloedel subdivision and the supportive housing),” she explained.

“This memorandum of understanding allows the Sanala Culturally Supportive Housing Society to investigate if this property is even viable for that purpose,” said Nelson-Smith.

Through the memorandum of understanding, council would agree that for the next two years no one else would be allowed to buy the property.

This would give the Sanala Culturally Supportive Housing Society time to investigate and see if the property is viable and then discussions would be held as to whether or not the district was going to lease the land long term.

The request and the memorandum of understanding do not legally bind the district to provide this piece of land.

The memorandum also allows council the option to cancel the agreement if circumstances change.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to be a part of this project. We’re very fortunate that we have land available that we can do this,” said Councillor Dennis Dugas.

Image — District of Port Hardy

Port Hardy council has agreed to set aside a piece of land, on the right-hand side of the highway just before Applewood GM,  for a culturally supportive housing project.

Kwakiutl First Nation responds


 By Robin Quirk and Kathy O’Reilly,

North Island Eagle, April 12 2024

A pole in memory of Laḵwalogwa Barb Cranmer was unveiled on April 6 in Alert Bay on what would have been her 64th birthday. 

Barb was an award-winning ‘Namgis documentary filmmaker focused on sharing Indigenous ways of knowing. She took pride in her people sharing their own voices in all her documentaries. 

Barb co-owned an Indigenous gallery and coffee shop, Culture Shock, with her sisters Andrea and Donna. 

The beautiful pole now stands in front of the store in her honour. 

Andrea Cranmer shared: “The pole was carved for our late sister Barb’s memorial potlatch held by Tłaḵwagila - Donna Cranmer and family. The carver is our nephew, Phillip Grey. He is from the Tsimshian Nation located at Port Simpson near Prince Rupert.” 

Chief Robert Joseph welcomed everyone to the land of the ‘Namgis to start the ceremony. Family and friends gathered to remember and honour Barb, with some coming from as far away as Rio De Janeiro and New York City. To complete the unveiling, there was an eagle down blessing, speeches, and a ladies’ dance. 

After the ceremony at Culture Shock, everyone went to the big house for the potlatch. 

The memorial was a time of joy and sadness, reflection, and remembrance of a special woman who is greatly missed. The pole will always be a reminder of Barb—a wonderful daughter, sister, auntie, and friend who was a blessing to many, an amazing woman who was so gifted. 

Barb was a powerful, loving woman who touched many hearts and influenced lives. She will be remembered every day as she stands by the front door of Culture Shock. Her legacy will live on as she continues to welcome people to the land of the ‘Namgis.

pole cranmer 2.jpg

Photo  — Robin Quirk, Robin’s Eye Photography 

A pole in memory of Laḵwalogwa, Barb Cranmer, carved by her nephew, Phillip Grey. was unveiled on April 6 in Alert Bay.

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