WATCH: All three jurisdictions have agreed to trade land to allow for the development of a 200 acre business park in Langford. Monica Martinez explains.
Langford, Metchosin and the Beecher Bay First Nation are celebrating a unique land deal.
“I’m here to say this is a historic opportunity, it’s a historic partnership,” said Langford Mayor Steward Young.
The proposal sees a land swap between the three jurisdictions to pave the way for the development of a 200 acre industrial park in Langford.
“The economic opportunity in this zone will be bigger than anywhere else on Vancouver Island,” said Young.
The business park is expected to create as many as 4,000 permanent jobs. Langford’s mayor said it is important to balance commercial development along with housing, before it’s too late.
“If we don’t do it, there’s more damage because really, where are we going to go? Where are we going to find the land to do this when we all wake up one day and say we have lots of housing but where are the jobs going to be?”
The deal would see Beecher Bay give 250 acres of Treaty lands back to Metchosin. In exchange, the band receives one-third ownership of the industrial park.
“We want a better future for our kids and the only way we can get that to happen is to sign a treaty that makes it viable. You need economic development,” said Beecher Bay First Nation Chief Russell Chipps.
On top of the treaty lands, Metchosin gets another 120 acres. In total, the 350 acres will become protected green space, securing Metchosin’s future as a rural community.
“This has been haunting me for 30 years as to how can we meet our rural objectives without the threat of that land being developed in our community. This is the last obstacle to that,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns.
In exchange, Metchosin will shrink its boundary with Langford by 380 acres to accommodate the industrial park.
All three parties would split the tax revenues.
“I think the timing is right, I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Young said.
The agreement is still tentative requiring community consultation and various approvals, but if signed, would be the first time in B.C., an urban city, rural municipality and Aboriginal community have come together with a shared vision.