SAIT to help Kanaka Bar rebuild

Partners launch resilient housing solutions project to assist with rebuild of fire-ravaged Lytton, B.C. region
Photo courtesy Kanaka Bar Indian Band

Partners launch resilient housing solutions project to assist with rebuild of fire-ravaged Lytton, B.C. region

Kanaka Bar Indian Band, SAIT, Okanagan College, Foresight Canada and Seko Construction have partnered to harness innovation to provide options for the rebuild of a fire-ravaged region in British Columbia.

Also known as "T'eqt''aqtn'mux" or "the crossing place people,” the Kanaka Bar Indian Band is one of 15 Indigenous communities that make up the Nlaka’pamux Nation. For more than 7000 years, Kanaka's Traditional Territory — located 14 kilometers south of Lytton in the Fraser Canyon region — sustained its people.

SAIT and Patrick Michell, Chief of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band, have entered into an agreement to launch a pilot project focused on climate-resilient housing options for evacuees who lost their homes in the June 30, 2021 Lytton, B.C. wildfire. The project is expected to reveal sustainable new building and retrofitting solutions not only for Kanaka Bar’s members, Lytton residents and the surrounding region, but also all Canadians looking to make their homes resilient to ever-increasing extreme weather events.

“We are delighted to bring together leaders in applied research and innovation to tackle the urgent need to build back our region. We are combining the power of our community with the latest building practices to ensure new housing and its supporting systems, as well as older buildings in the region, are made sustainable and climate resilient,” says Chief Patrick Michell.

Gathering together

The Kanaka Bar Resilient Housing Solutions project is a community-led and community-driven initiative. The project will see SAIT leading a collaborative team with participants from Okanagan College, Foresight Canada and Seko Construction over 10 months to create foundational options for rebuilding in the Lytton region.

The applied research project leverages the expertise and reach of the team to issue an immediate call for commercially-approved Canadian housing building materials, technology providers and product options. The pilot project will include the design and build of four to eight homes to test and validate material properties, climate resiliency, energy performance and affordability. The goal is to develop a suite of viable options for the region, and other communities, throughout medium and long-term rebuilding activities.

This agreement showcases the leadership of Kanaka Bar and their desire to help the greater Lytton region and beyond. The project brings together leading polytechnic institutions from western Canada and Foresight, Canada’s cleantech accelerator, to create an unbiased, multi-disciplinary team of experts that will assess the long-term needs of the greater region and develop a plan for the future. The vision is to build more resilient structures and address future climate impacts with meaningful solutions.

“The Kanaka Bar Resilient Housing Solutions project will be a truly collaborative effort. It will bring together communities, institutions and innovative solution providers. This will impact all Canadians, especially for our hardest hit neighbours in B.C., through public sharing of the processes and innovations used in the project,” says Mark Butler, Interim Vice President Corporate Development, Applied Research and International.

The Kanaka Bar Resilient Housing Solutions project involves several phases:

  • Applied research and community engagement led by Chief Michell and SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) — specifically its Green Building Technologies (GBT) division — in collaboration with Okanagan College, Foresight and Seko Construction.
  • An Innovation Challenge will be issued by Foresight and SAIT to source resilient and sustainable commercially-available solutions and construction products needed to rebuild housing structures. The solutions will meet the criteria for BC Step code 5 with respect to fire/water/wind resiliency, energy efficiency, long-term sustainability and affordability.
  • After selection of the Innovation Challenge winners, the initial phase of the project will conclude with the construction of four to eight housing structures ready for occupancy by September 2022.

SAIT research team lead

Melanie Ross profile photo

Melanie Ross

Research Associate, Green Building Technologies

Media inquiries

Chris Gerritsen
Associate Director, Communications


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