A log home manufacturing business from central British Columbia is relocating north to Watson Lake, to be operated by First Kaska Construction Limited Partnership (FKCLP), a construction firm owned by Liard First Nation.
The purchase, relocation and expansion of the Heartland Timber Homes was assisted by $2 million in federal funding provided via the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). The total cost of the project is a little over $5.8 million.
The funding was announced on Feb. 23 by Dan Vandal, the Minister of Northern Affairs who is also responsible for CanNor and PrariesCan. The timber home manufacturing plant is now up and running with a ribbon cutting ceremony held Feb. 22.
The federal announcement of the funding states that this is the realization of work that began in 2021.
The company that FKCLP is buying specializes in the design and manufacturing of timber home kits that can be shipped and assembled on site. The funding announcement states that the federal dollars helped with the purchase of the business; its relocation from Lac La Hache, B.C.; an employment mentoring program and measures to increase the business’s production capacity.
Along with the jobs and training opportunities for people in Watson Lake, the move of the timber homes business is being billed as a way of addressing high construction costs and limited housing options, particularly in the Watson Lake area but also in the wider territory.
“The funding we received from CanNor for this acquisition supports our vision of empowering our First Nations to build capacity, provide training and much needed employment for our members.
“This funding program speaks to the fundamental need for collaborative programs that improve the lives of our Indigenous people in Canada,” said Liard First Nation Chief Stephen Charlie.
“Once we are in production, this acquisition could profoundly change the lack of affordable housing, not just for our members, but for all First Nations who are in desperate need of more homes.”
Jasper Lamouelle, the CEO of First Kaska, Liard First Nation’s development corporation, said access to the federal funds that allowed them to relocate Heartland Timber Homes to Watson Lake comes with a great deal of pride. He said getting into the log home trade is both a good business opportunity and will also help provide housing that is much needed and more traditional for Liard First Nation members and others.
The opening of the business was also well received by Vandal, who called it a good example of the government’s investments in organizations that promote economic growth, sustainable business development and the creation of good jobs.
Yukon MP Brendan Hanley said he looks forward to seeing how the project builds capacity and prosperity in the Watson Lake area.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org