The purchase of two commercial properties, supported through provincial government funding, will benefit the Halalt First Nation by providing current and future economic opportunities.
The Halalt took ownership of a business and residential complex at Crofton Corners March 20, and the Chemainus River Storage commercial property April 27 that are both close to the Halalt’s reserve lands. The purchases are seen as advancing treaty negotiations between the Halalt and the Province.
“Halalt has been part of the treaty process for more than 25 years,” said Chief James Thomas. “So the transfer of these lands is more than an economic opportunity. It’s a commitment that this government is serious about reconciliation with Halalt and going all the way with us toward a treaty.”
“The Halalt people have been stewards of these lands for millennia,” added Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Acquiring land to support the Nation’s goals for self-government, strong, healthy communities and economic prosperity is one of the ways we can advance reconciliation – and that work will bring benefits to the entire region.”
The properties will give the Halalt the chance to explore new business partnerships and create economic potential along the well-travelled route between Chemainus, Crofton and over to Salt Spring Island from the ferry terminal.
The Province provided $2.16 million for the land purchases under an Incremental Treaty Agreement. ITAs allow First Nations within the treaty process to take advantage of early treaty benefits, such as purchasing properties of interest.
Halalt First Nation purchased Crofton Corners for $1.05 million and Chemainus River Storage for $1.117 million.
Halalt First Nation has more than 200 members and is the third of five Nations in the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group to advance treaty negotiations through ITAs with B.C. in the past six months.
In January 2020, Penelakut Tribe acquired the former 49th Parallel General Store in Chemainus through an ITA with the Province. The store is located on the traditional lands where Penelakut’s village once stood and immediately adjacent to the BC Ferries terminal serving Penelakut and Thetis Islands.
Cowichan Tribes purchased the 153-hectare Genoa Bay Farm property through an ITA in October 2019, restoring a piece of Cowichan Tribes traditional land base and cultural history.