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Carcross builds capacity with tiny homes project

Carcross will soon be getting its own suite of tiny houses, but the project is meant to build more than just housing capacity.

Carcross will soon be getting its own suite of tiny houses, but the project is meant to build more than just housing capacity.

The Carcross/Tagish First Nation has partnered with the Council of Yukon First Nations, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the Yukon Mine Training Association and architects Kobayashi and Zedda to help train 16 CTFN citizens as carpenters and build three tiny homes in the community.

“The intent of this is that we’ve always had complaints from our community that we don’t have enough job opportunities. We know that there are individuals who are interested in carpentry, so we designed this program around them,” said Nelson Lepine, the First Nation’s director of infrastructure.

The idea is to take youth who want to break into the Yukon construction workforce, but might lack the life skills or education to make the leap. By working with them on a project that has real significance for the community, Lepine hopes the program can help inspire and empower youth.

“This initiative goes over and above the carpentry. We’ll be helping them to work on reading skills or math skills, or other life skills. We will target the individuals that are interested and have the drive,” Lepine said.

The program is being put together with help from the First Nation’s infrastructure, wellness and capacity departments.

The three homes, when finished, will provide much-needed housing stock for the community’s elders or other people in need, Lepine said.

“The location is in one of our compounds, but we’ll look at doing a training component including transporting houses from a building site to a training site. We’ll be doing plumbing, electrical, drywalling, everything that goes into building a house.”

Lepine said the project isn’t just about getting the houses built. Even though it’s not really required as part of standard construction, he said the program organizers are looking at things like building roof trusses on the ground and then bringing in a rigging and hoist instructor to teach how to lift the roofs onto the buildings.

Everything is done with an eye to supporting the students along the way, he said.

“This is just an introduction. We’re trying to see what they’re interested in. If they choose to go beyond this, we are going to help them do that and pursue that.

“The carpenter’s aspect makes sense as the nucleus of all of this because you can’t do electrical unless you have a house. You can’t do plumbing unless you have house, and someone has to build the house. We figured we might as well do all of it,” Lepine said.

The project will run for 16 weeks, beginning in February.

“If all goes well we’re hoping that Feb. 3 will be the first nail in a board,” Lepine said.

Contact Jesse Winter at