Oromocto First Nation celebrates first new homes built in more than 10 years
20 families get new homes in Welamukotuk Court
For the first time in more than a decade, a new home has been built in Oromocto First Nation.
And not just one dwelling. An entire subdivision.
"I'm really excited and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the builders for making this day happen," said Cassidy Verner, 8, who has never seen a new home built in her community and spoke earlier to the crowd at the opening.
Her family is one of 20 that will call Welamukotuk Court home.
The twelve houses in the subdivision, made up of four bungalows and eight duplexes, are mostly receiving finishing touches as builders complete decks and painting, and install vinyl siding.
Oromocto First Nation financed the $4 million construction project through bank loans and its residential development program, which is supported by investments and partnerships.
"A lot of emotions are going through my body," said Chief Shelley Sabattis. "First pride for my community. And happiness for the families that were selected, which was a very difficult process, and I wouldn't want to do that again. But we have 20 very happy families."
Sabattis said the families were selected through a thorough interview and a vetting process.
Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, was also on-hand for the festivities, where it was also announced the band was adding a new parcel of land to its holdings.
Oromocto First Nation will develop 169 acres in the neighbouring community of Haneytown.
Sabattis is planning on that being the new site for the next wave of new homes.
She said these first steps will go a long way to curbing the housing issues of Oromocto First Nation, which has almost 300 people living on the reserve and about 330 off the reserve.
But Sabattis admitted the shortage won't be solved anytime soon.
"I don't know if we will catch up because there are more families every day," she said. "I have a five-year plan in the process right now. So, I can show community members that we are going to be pumping out houses for the next five years."
For a young generation that has never seen the community grow in such a big way, the little details are a draw.
"I really like the kitchen a lot because the drawers are slam-proof and my baby brother likes to slam doors a lot," said Verner.