A developer has officially transferred 102 acres of land back to the Snuneymuxw First Nation at a ceremony Thursday.
The land is just south of Nanaimo and includes one of the First Nation’s ancient village sites.
The signing of the land transfer papers between the company and First Nation was witnessed by more than 100 people in the First Nation’s gymnasium.
“Very historic day for Snuneymuxw. To get our ancient village site back, it’s very exciting,” said Chief Mike Wyse.
Seacliffe Properties purchased the Sandstone development’s 720 acres of land five years ago.
It signed a mutual benefit agreement with Snuneymuxw First Nation last June.
It led to the transferred land which is bordered by the Nanaimo River on one side.
The First Nation is already planning for the future.
“Housing is the top of our list and we got to be able to develop infrastructure to accommodate our people,” said Wyse.
“Today is all about honouring our agreement with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and celebrating this important transfer of 102 acres of land back to them,” said Georgia Desjardins, Seacliff’s Director of Development.
The company has plans for a substantial development on 450 acres of its property. It could include up to 2,200 residential units throughout three new neighbourhoods, 175,000 square feet of commercial space and over three million square feet of industrial space.
“With planned investment in Sandstone there’s a potential to create over a thousand jobs per year,” said Desjardins.
The company says during the 20-year build out, construction costs, road and infrastructure improvements to exceed $2 billion.
“We’re going to continue working together moving forward to make Sandstone a reality and bring much-needed housing and importantly much-needed economic and business opportunities to the Mid-Island region as well,” said Desjardins.
The company wants to rezone its land this coming summer and if given the green light, Seacliffe says it will give a further 25 acres to Snuneymuxw with an option to buy an additional 150 acres.