Housing is a priority area for the Songhees Nation. The Nation owns 38 homes built under the Canada Mortgage and Housing Program and they are rented to Songhees members.
Songhees Nation is developing a long term Community vision for land use and development. The Nation will develop a strategic plan for housing that balances individual aspirations with the greater good. A key aspect of the plan will be to promote and incentivize private home ownership.
Songhees Nation exercises jurisdiction over disposition and use of Songhees Reserve Lands under the authority of the First Nations Lands Management Act. With the implementation of the Songhees Land Code in 2011, Indian Act provisions relating to lands management no longer apply.
The Songhees Land Code lays out the principles, legislative and administrative framework for managing Songhees Reserve Lands including the following:
Songhees Nation registers interests such as allotments, leaseholds, easements, permits, transfers, licenses and mortgages in the First Nation Land Registry (FNLRS). The FNLRS allows inquiries on public data in the system.
Other Lands Management activities include additions to reserve, lease and permit management, external land referrals, land and marine use planning and environmental management.
Songhees has nine bylaws under the Indian Act including Traffic, Parking and Animal Control. The Bylaw Department works on Emergency Response Planning and liaisons with emergency services.
Public Works and Infrastructure
Nation Assets and infrastructure include sewer, water, roads and buildings.
Tl’ches Marine Use Plan
Tl’ches are also known as Chatham and Discovery Islands which are (mostly) Songhees reserve lands, located 2 kilometres from Oak Bay and 5 kilometres from the US border.
Tl’ches and the surrounding waters are a unique ecosystem, rich with marine resources. Tl’ches is one of the last locations in Songhees homelands that remains almost as it was 200 years ago. The islands and marine areas reflect Songhees relationship to the land and water including cultivated Indigenous gardens, fishing, and clam gardens.
The University of Victoria's School of Environmental Science assisted with data collection and analysis. Fieldwork included capturing video with a remotely operated underwater vehicle to count keystone species, and assess the health of the seafloor.
The project documents community knowledge of Tl’ches and vision for the future. Members want to protect the islands, continue to teach the youth about them and preserve them for the future. Many expressed concern about damage to Tl’ches caused by trespassers. Several members expressed concern for the safety of the wolf.
The Marine Use Plan is intended to limit, reduce and mitigate negative impacts with regulation, enforcement and continued monitoring. The Marine Use Plan will be a living document guiding the Songhees Nation’s efforts to protect and govern the Islands.
Under the provisions of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the Songhees Nation has the authority to collect property tax from taxable interests on Songhees Reserve Lands. The Songhees tax roll is composed of 662 taxable interests, 653 residential (mobile homes, manufactured homes and strata townhomes), 5 utilities and 6 business properties. The annual tax budget is approximately $1 million per year.