B.C. buys $13M land for Esquimalt and Songhees Nations reconciliation efforts
Murray Rankin, B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, is pictured: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government has purchased a 3.4-hectare parcel of land to support its reconciliation efforts with the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations of Vancouver Island.
The property, known as Thetis Cove, is adjacent to the Esquimalt Nation reserve and is located in the View Royal area. The undeveloped land was purchased from a private owner for approximately $13 million by the province in October.
The B.C. government says the land can be used for housing, commercial developments or other economic opportunities.
“The return of our land will be a significant step in reconciliation and provides an opportunity to work constructively with other levels of government to create a healthy and prosperous future for our community,” said Esquimalt Nation Chief Robert Thomas in a release Monday.
The province says that it is still in the early stages of brokering a reconciliation agreement between the federal government and Esquimalt Nation.
Until negotiations are complete, the province will hold onto the land. The B.C. government estimates that it will take three to five years to complete a reconciliation agreement.
“The Thetis Cove property presented a unique opportunity for us to advance reconciliation with Esquimalt Nation and support treaty discussions with Songhees Nation,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
“While we are at the beginning of our discussions with Esquimalt Nation and the broader community about the land, we see its significant potential for supporting Esquimalt Nation to thrive and prosper, which benefits everyone who lives in the region,” he said.