Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Assembly of First Nations and The Holmes Group Celebrate Completion of the "G'WIIGWAAMNAANIIN" (Building Homes & Building Skills) Project and First Nations Sustainable Housing Standards Dedication Ceremony in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (ON)

OTTAWA, July 11, 2014 /CNW/ - The Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and The Holmes Group today celebrate the completion of the "G'WIIGWAAMNAANIIN" (Building Homes & Building Skills) pilot project for housing and infrastructure in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in Ontario.  The project is the result of a Statement of Partnership between the AFN and The Holmes Group. The community now has housing units that are built to First Nation Sustainable Development Standards (FNSDS) that were developed as part of the project to create safer, healthier and durable homes and communities for First Nations. Atikameksheng Anishnawbek worked together as a community to ensure their rights, traditions and interests were protected and reflected in this pilot project.

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Chief Steve Miller said, "When Atikameksheng Anishnawbek was chosen as the community to host the "G'WIIGWAAMNAANIIN" - Building Homes & Building Skills - pilot project, it was an exciting time and a great opportunity to better our housing standards within our community. At the same time, it presented an opportunity to set an example of how our First Nation can unite and pull our resources together to accomplish an important task that has never been done before. Today, we have accomplished a housing standard through the First Nation Sustainable Housing Development Standards and this document is not only for our community to better our housing standards but can be shared with other communities to access and use as a template towards the development of their own standards. We completed four single unit complex using these standards and this is a great accomplishment. This four-plex, as we call it, will provide a healthier home, a home that will last longer and one that is more energy efficient."

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Bill Traverse, who holds the Housing and Infrastructure portfolio for the AFN stated, "On behalf of the AFN National Executive, I would like to thank everyone involved in this innovative project and especially recognize the leadership of Chief Steve Miller, his council and their entire community. We also thank 'Canada's Most Trusted Contractor' Mike Holmes and The Holmes Group for partnering with AFN on this pilot project back in 2010. It is truly inspiring to see the vision of the pilot project now become a reality. The development of First Nations Sustainable Development Standards resulting from this project will benefit all First Nations across the country.  We congratulate Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in their success in working with their partners to build a foundation for the present and for the future generations."

"I'm proud of what we accomplished here. It shows what you can do when you work together as a team and make it right," stated President of The Holmes Group and trusted contractor, Mike Holmes from Holmes on Homes® and most recently, Holmes Makes It Right. "This project was about making better choices, doing what makes sense, building smart and teaching the First Nations how to do it - like using products that will not mould and that help keep a home safe and healthy, not to mention the families living in them, too."

The First Nations Sustainable Development Standards incorporate green technologies, clean energy and new innovative housing materials, and encompass and integrates the natural environment as well as First Nation concepts of the importance of the extended family, health and traditional social systems. The project will also lead to a "Centre of Excellence" where best practices and lessons learned can be made available to all First Nations.

"We wanted to build these homes to last for generations," says Third Line Homes spokesperson and VP Jan Singbeil. "That's why we designed and built this four-plex with Durisol, a proprietary wood fibre and cement material that is super energy efficient, toxin free, mould and sound proof and fire resistant. We have installed monitors in these homes to validate the improved air quality and efficiencies." 

"This project has been both challenging and rewarding," says Third Line President Paul Osborn.  "Our team, including trainees from the community, worked through one of the coldest winters in 20 years and we're thrilled that we are days away from having families move into these healthy sustainable homes."

Every First Nation around the country will be able to access the approach and processes used by Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. Chief Steve Miller, AFN and The Holmes Group are now looking to present the completed First Nations Sustainable Development Standards to all First Nations for their use.

Background:

On December 17, 2010, former AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and "Canada's Most Trusted Contractor" and President of The Holmes Group Mike Holmes announced that Atikameksheng Anishnawbek was chosen as the site for the "G'WIIGWAAMNAANIIN"  - Building Homes and Building Skills" joint pilot project, that aimed to foster green and sustainable First Nation housing and communities.

On May 19th, 2011, AFN, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, The Holmes Group entered into an Agreement in Principle.  All parties acknowledge:

  • the need to educate and promote quality construction practices in First Nation communities.
  • the need to provide First Nations communities with the tools necessary to construct durable and energy efficient homes.
  • the need to provide First Nations communities with the tools necessary to implement green and sustainable concepts in their planning practices in order to become more healthy, vibrant, and self-sustaining communities.

The goal of the AFN-Holmes Statement of Partnership is now realized through the completion of this project but the AFN and The Holmes Group will continue to work together to advance quality and excellence for First Nations.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or
agaron@afn.ca

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or
jyoung@afn.ca