A historic partnership between three communities is promising to create jobs, protect valuable greenspace, and secure the economic future of the Beecher Bay (Sc’ianew) First Nation.
Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, presented the Letters Patent, which confirm the boundary changes to Langford and Metchosin, to Beecher Bay Chief Russ Chipps, Langford Mayor Stewart Young, and Metchosin Mayor John Ranns. Coming after months of community consultation and approvals from all levels of government, the boundary change will deliver both long-term preservation of parks and greenspace and economic enhancements for the entire region.
“The boundary change process provides a good example of how First Nations and municipal neighbours can work together for mutual benefit,” said Minister Fassbender. “The partnership recognized today was realized through creative solutions and with enhanced outcomes for all parties.”
The multi-step process sees the Beecher Bay First Nation forego 250 acres of treaty lands within Metchosin, preserving them as greenspace in perpetuity. Another 155 acres of private land also becomes protected greenspace and in return, Metchosin’s area adjacent to Langford shrinks by 354 acres to allow for the creation of a new business park, greenspace and residential community in Langford. The newly-formed business park is expected to create as many as 4,000 permanent jobs.
“This announcement marks a major milestone in a unique and cooperative partnership that we believe will provide economic and conservation opportunities for Beecher Bay and our neighbours,” said Chief Russ Chipps. “This is another step in our journey toward reconciliation.”
The Beecher Bay First Nation is a one-third freehold land owner of the Business Park, which will provide the Band with a sustainable revenue stream. In addition, Beecher Bay First Nation, Metchosin, and Langford have entered into a tax sharing agreement to share the municipal taxes from the lands related to the business park development.
“This is proof that governments can work together to advance a common goal. The vision of the boundary adjustment proposal was achieved through hard work and dedication by all levels of government, staff and politicians. The result has been the preservation of Metchosin’s rural direction, jobs for the region and economic independence for Beecher Bay,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns.
“This is a historic agreement between the District of Metchosin, the City of Langford and Beecher Bay First Nation that will create meaningful and long-term jobs on the Westshore,” said Mayor Young. “Having high paying jobs in the community where you live is important to the residents of Langford, Metchosin and the First Nations community.”
All of the regional leaders emphasized the importance of the results of the community consultation in this process. In the preceding months, all three communities received overwhelming support from residents.
It is believed this is the first time in British Columbia that the Provincial Government, a regional district, an urban municipality, a rural municipality and a First Nations community have come together with a shared vision for job growth, environmental stewardship, and First Nations prosperity, resulting in such a successful agreement.