'It’s a dream come true': Saskatoon modular apartments aim to solve affordable housing needs for Métis elders

A three-story multi-unit residential building under construction. (Miriam Valdes Carletti/ CTV News)

A "craning" celebration in Pleasant Hill marked the construction of the three-story multi-unit residential building that will be home to Métis elders.

The Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) in partnership with Big Block Construction started the project two years ago.

CUMFI President Shirley Isbister says she wouldn’t believe the project was true until she saw it for her own eyes.

“It’s amazing, it’s a dream come true. A vision we’ve had for over 20 years to be able to build a seniors home, so the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is exceeding our vision for what we wanted,” Isbister told CTV News.

The three-story multi-unit modular building aims to solve the need for affordable housing. The building will have on-site social and cultural support, raised gardens for traditional medicines and picnic tables so people can gather.

Cultural elements, such as wooden ceilings, have also been incorporated into the design of the apartments.

Since the development is Métis-owned, Isbister says the building will be a home for future generations.“It will be filled with Métis culture and laughter and music.”

Isbister says the project cost over $7 million and is happy the lodge is being built in Pleasant Hill, one of the city’s core neighbourhoods.

CEO of Big Block Construction Alex Miller says he’s always wanted to make a larger impact in the community so when CUMFI reached out about the idea, he knew they wanted to be a part of it.

“We knew we could be a part of it, we knew that we could help them get to the finish line and we’re so excited to get this far,” Miller told CTV News.

Miller says modular apartments advance the way typical construction is done.

“All of these homes were actually built in a large facility … much higher quality, much better price and overall you can ensure the project gets done in time and on budget.”