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OPG employees help build homes and dreams in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

OPG employees in southwestern Ontario picked up their tools to build affordable new homes for families of Neyaashiinigmiing – also known as the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

OPG employees recently helped build affordable new homes for families of Neyaashiinigmiing – also known as the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
OPG employees recently helped build affordable new homes for families of Neyaashiinigmiing – also known as the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

This fall, staff from OPG’s Nuclear Sustainability Services in Bruce County visited Neyaashiinigmiing on Oct. 27 and Nov. 10 to take part in Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce’s latest home-building initiative.

Working with other volunteers, the OPG team helped prepare a foundation and assisted with concrete pouring on a home that had burned to the ground earlier this year. Staff also worked on four new homes being built this year.

“We had two really great days, with nice company at the build site and the support was for an important cause,” said Kris Probodiak, Manager of Business Support with Nuclear Sustainability Services. “After taking a pause due to the pandemic last year, it was great to be back at it and helping the community. There’s still a lot of work to be done though.”

Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada, has been a leader in building affordable homes on First Nation lands. In 2017, the first-ever Habitat for Humanity house on a First Nation territory in Ontario was built at Neyaashiinigmiing.

OPG employees stand in front of a new home under construction in Neyaashiinigmiing.
OPG employees stand in front of a new home under construction in Neyaashiinigmiing.

In 2018, a 25-acre subdivision known as Kaikaiknong Crescent, was developed by the community with four houses built that year. Since then, multiple homes were constructed annually with the support of numerous volunteers from the community, OPG, and other corporate partners. Today, the subdivision has 12 fully constructed homes, with four more expected to be completed this year and space for a children’s park, which will be constructed in 2022.

This success story led to other First Nation communities partnering with Habitat affiliates across Canada to help address some of their housing challenges, including the Saugeen First Nation, near Southampton, which is seeing its first four homes built this year in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce.

“Volunteers play a major role in building the houses. Without them things would not get done,” said John McLachlan, Community Partnerships Co-ordinator with Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce. “We rely on volunteers to build and companies to donate new product to the builds to keep costs low. We’re proud to host volunteers on our builds and we look forward to meeting more community-minded individuals on our work sites.”

To learn more, visit habitatgreybruce.ca.