Canada invests in a green community space for the Nzen'man' Child and Family Development Centre

News release

Lytton, British Columbia, June 15, 2023 — Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced a federal investment of $8.5 million to build a central education, social and cultural facility within the heart of the Nlaka’pamux Nation in British Columbia.

This new facility will provide a community space that reflects the Nlaka’pamux and include childcare spaces, afterschool and youth programming, family drop-in, and a cultural gathering space to host cultural celebrations and support knowledge exchange and language revitalization. This project also includes a commercial teaching kitchen, a community café, a library and Elders lounge. The Nzen'man' Birds Nest Project building is designed with a strong focus on sustainability, cultural preservation, and climate resilience. It incorporates various features and materials to ensure its longevity and relevance for generations to come.  The design and construction of the building will adhere to the requirements of the Canada Green Buildings Council Net Zero Carbon standards, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Moreover, the building's design will embody a deep connection to the local climate and land.  Materials indigenous to the land will be utilized, such as timber charred by the Lytton Creek Fire, symbolizing the resilience and transformation that emerged from the devastating event. Rammed earth will be incorporated into the exterior, reflecting the earth-based construction methods rooted in Nlaka'pamux traditions.

 To ensure the design truly represents the Nlaka'pamux culture, Nlaka'pamux Knowledge Keepers will play a vital role in guiding and shaping the architectural choices and cultural features of the building. Their wisdom and expertise will ensure that the building becomes a meaningful and authentic reflection of Nlaka'pamux values, traditions, and ways of life and a lasting symbol of cultural preservation and resilience.

The Nzen'man' Child and Family Development Centre Society is a non-profit, charitable organization, created in 1993 after community consultation to address the history and impacts of children attending St. Georges Residential School which operated in the community for over 80 years. The programs and services it provides are built on the Nlaka’pamux ways of knowledge keeping, so children grow up in more inclusive and caring communities, providing safe, supportive child care.

By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, building resilient communities, and improving the lives of Canadians.


“Our government is excited to be investing in education projects such as this one. Investments in children and education ensure the community is providing more inclusive, supportive child care facilities, places to learn, and builds opportunities for today and into the future.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

"The past few years have brought forth a series of profound challenges for the Nlaka'pamux communities, the Village of Lytton, and the Thompson Nicola Regional District. The pandemic, the devastating Lytton Creek Fire, the regional floods, and the Nohomin fire have left a lasting impact on every aspect of our lives and that of our children. Amidst these hardships, the Nzen'man' Birds Nest Project emerges as a beacon of hope, symbolizing our unwavering resilience and serving as a living embodiment of reconciliation in action and creating safe spaces that honour our children as the centre of our communities and the hearts of our Nations future.”

Romona Baxter, Executive Director of the Nzen’man’ Child and Family Development Centre Society

"The Nzen'man buildings concept takes the centuries old architectural knowledge that the Nlaka'pamux used in their Sheishkin (Pit-House structures) into a modern building, built out of the side of the sloping site with rammed earth walls and a timber framed interior.  The Building will achieve the a TEDI of 22 and makes use of local timber, an anaerobic digester for full septic treatment, and a geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling. The Nzen'man' building is an example of Indigenous architecture in modern form"

Kelly Edzerza-Bapty - Architect

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing $8.5 million in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (GICB). The Rural Dividend Fund is contributing $500,000 and the Nzen'man' Child and Family Development Centre Society is contributing $1.3 million.

  • The GICB program aims to improve the places Canadians work, learn, play, live and gather by cutting pollution, making life more affordable, and supporting thousands of good jobs. Through green and other upgrades to existing public community buildings and new builds in underserved communities, the GICB program helps ensure community facilities are inclusive, accessible, and have a long service life, while also helping Canada move towards its net-zero objectives by 2050.

  • For more information, please visit the Infrastructure Canada website.

  • At least 10 percent of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.

  • The GICB program was created in support of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, supporting the Plan’s first pillar through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of energy efficiency, and higher resilience to climate change. It is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades.

  • Federal funding is conditional on fulfilling all requirements related to consultation with Indigenous groups and environmental assessment obligations.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Web: Infrastructure Canada

Romona Baxter
Executive Director
Nzen’man’ Child and Family Development Centre Society
Cell: 250-299-7991

Page details

Date modified: