Type: Affordable Housing Complex
Client: BC Housing
Date of Completion: April 2022
Location: North Cowichan, B.C.
Size: 32,190 sq.ft.
Onsite Duration: 207 days
Completed in April 2022, Sq’umul’ Shelh Lelum’ is a Nomodic-built supportive housing complex in North Cowichan, BC, built under the province’s Rapid Response to Homelessness initiative. The complex provides safe, affordable housing for individuals who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The four-storey building was built through BC Housing in collaboration with Nomodic, the Municipality of North Cowichan, and the City of Duncan among other valued partners and stakeholders.
The complex contains 52 self-contained studio homes, each with its own kitchenette and washroom, and a number of accessible features. The first level includes offices, a staff room, health room, tenant support room, meeting room, lounge, amenity space, commercial kitchen and pantry, and storage space. Outside of the building is a generous amenity/gathering area, promoting community and social togetherness. The building achieved BC Energy Step Code 3, and includes a number of features designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.
The exterior design has a bold, contemporary aesthetic and uses a unique design with cladding “fins” to accent the finish of the building and provide shade in the summer. Because the building is located in a high seismic zone, an Anchor Tiedown System (ATS) was employed: an optimized, continuous rod assembly that protects mid-rise wood buildings from seismic events and high wind by restraining both lateral and uplift loads. This ensures the building will be well-protected and structurally sound well into the future.
The building is operated by Lookout Housing + Health Society, an experienced non-profit housing operator. The society provides residents with on-site staff and support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and volunteer opportunities.
According to BC Housing, the building’s name, Sq’umul’ Shelh Lelum’, refers to the word “paddle” in the Hul’qumi’num language. It is representative of the name of the road the building is on (Paddle Road), and of the opportunity it gives residents to chart a path and move in a new direction. It is a perfect metaphor, reflecting the desire and mission of BC Housing, Nomodic, and the entire stakeholder group to leave things better for the complex’s deserving new residents.