The Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) has received a big boost to plans for a new building at East Hastings and Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
The new building has been in the works for several years, and recently received $2.5 million from the provincial government for the development of a business case. The current UNYA building is located across the street on the north side of East Hastings, but is already over capacity.
The new UNYA will consist of a youth centre, affordable housing, childcare facility, cultural support services, and a Vancouver campus for the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT). NVIT is currently leasing space in Burnaby, far from many of its students and already at capacity.
“As B.C.’s only Indigenous public post-secondary institution that was founded by the five First Nations of the Nicola Valley and governed by a First Nations board of governors, NVIT has a mandate to provide post-secondary education and support services to Indigenous students across British Columbia,” says Ken Tourand, president, NVIT. “NVIT is excited to be working with UNYA to address the need for Indigenous education in urban Vancouver.”
Land contributions from UNYA and the City of Vancouver, as well as a land donation from Suncor Energy Inc., as the proposed site was formerly a service station, have been conditionally secured.
“Reconciliation is a shared responsibility, and part of that work is supporting Indigenous-led solutions,” says Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training. “This project is a premier example of doing so. UNYA and NVIT’s vision represents a better future for Indigenous people learning and living in Vancouver.”