Tsartlip’s Bighouse has undergone extensive renovations over the last few months, the majority of which are slated to be complete by early November. 

Shown above: the Bighouse’s new flooring

Tsartlip’s Bighouse has been in need of major renovation for some time. Severe weather and water damage had rotted the floor, making it unusable and unsafe. Last Spring, with direction from the Big House Committee, the scope of work and schedule were identified, with an initial completion date of October 1st. The Big House committee, made up of Tsartlip community members, has continued to guide decisions regarding the project since that time.

As a foundational element of the culture, access to the Big House has been sorely missed and has been a top priority item for Chief and Council, Admin, and Housing and Capital Projects. The missed deadline of October 1st has been the cause of frustration for community members who had been planning on using the space in early October. 

Tsartlip Admin and Capital Projects apologize for the delay and inconvenience and confirm they are doing everything in their power to ensure the new deadline of November 7th will be met.

Community members will be pleased to learn that several of the major renovation elements have been already completed, and the Big House will be ready to use by November 7th. 

The renovations that have been completed since Tsartlip’s summer Band Meeting are extensive.

  • The roof at the front and rear of the building has been repaired and redone which will go a long way to preventing the rainwater leaks which have caused so much damage in the past.
  • Another element that will better manage flooding and heavy rains is the perimeter drainage on both the North and East sides which is where the floor had rotted out previously. 
  • The perimeter drain and floor hatches will both help to better manage extreme levels of precipitation.
  • “To ensure that we’re monitoring the floor we also built in a couple of hatches to provide us easy access so we can address issues before they become out of control” shares Brad Janvier, the Director of Public Works, Housing and Capital projects.
  • The back of the building has also been expanded to create a covered door that is shielded from the elements and doubles as a fire escape. This area is also protected from rain and other elements.
  • In the interior, the kitchen is being painted and the third coat of paint will be drying this week. The flooring installation will also begin this week. The third and final element to be completed is cabinetry. Tsartlip is awaiting stainless steel cabinetry as well as the kitchen equipment which is scheduled to arrive and be installed by the end of the month.  

Janvier is “Cautiously optimistic” about the deadline of November 7th. Some elements of the kitchen are custom ordered and require special installation. 

“We went with stainless steel cabinetry because we need durability and something that can easily be maintained and cleaned. There are only a couple of firms that do that on the island. They’re gonna build an L-section countertop with a double compartment and a lot of companies are having a hard time finding skilled labor and sourcing equipment so that’s been causing delays. We are booked in and have paid our deposit so now we wait.”

Another item that is still pending is the appliances. Tsartlip will be receiving a commercial-grade dishwasher, a commercial fridge, and an upright commercial freezer as well as a large stockpot burner. These items are all upgrades, as requested by chefs to better accommodate large quantities of people. 

Janvier has stayed in close contact with the contractors to monitor changes to the schedule and will update the community accordingly. Regardless of the appliances and kitchen cabinetry, the main room of the big house should be ready for use by November 7th. Upon completion, booking and management of the Big House will be overseen by the Big House Committee. To book, community members can contact the Big House Committee by calling the Admin Office at: 250-652-3988

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