Proposal seeks to build massive film studio on Malahat Nation land
VICTORIA -- The film industry on Vancouver Island is booming and now the Malahat Nation is partnering with Victoria-based Alpha Select Production Services to build a large film and television production studio on Malahat Nation land, just south of Mill Bay.
The proposed 80-acre, $300-million project would be called Malahat Film Studios.
“We’ve never seen anything this large,” said Vancouver Island South film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert. “It’s going to attract huge productions.”
The proposal includes six sound stages, a business park, industrial park, and a technical academy for apprenticeships and skills training. It will also include a shopping village and hotel.
“Having a 115- to 120-room hotel was something that we thought we needed,” said Beverley Dondale, CEO of Alpha Select Production Services.
For Gilbert, the most exciting part of the proposal is the water tanks that could attract some big-budget films.
“There’s not many water tanks in the world,” said Gilbert. “If anyone is doing a big film on the water like Titanic or Pirates of the Caribbean, this is going to be an amazing draw for them.”
The proposal forecasts the studio project would provide 1,500 jobs, making it one the top employers in the region.
“We’ve got this great ecosystem of small- and mid-sized businesses on the South Island and the Cowichan Valley,” said Josh Handysides, CAO of the Malahat Nation. “This will be a lot of good-paying, long-term jobs and really just help benefit the region as a whole.”
Vancouver Island’s film industry is having a banner year with almost $50-million in direct spending – more than double last year’s $22 million.
“Everybody recognizes the need for content,” said Dondale. “Everybody from filmmakers, to people who watch the content know just how much content is required right now.”
“I just think it’s really going to put Vancouver Island South on the map in Hollywood,“ said Gilbert.