Search for a property that could be a new home for the Tlowitsis began.
In 2011, we began discussing the potential purchase of the York Road lands from TimberWest, the previous property owner. The property – just a few minutes south of Campbell River on Highway 19A – is close to jobs, schools, medical services, stores and markets, and would have access to utilities like phone, hydro, water and sewers.
The negotiations were covered by a non-disclosure agreement that prevented both parties from discussing the proposed purchase publicly until the Purchase Agreement was signed on July 4, 2015.
In 2016, the Tlowitsis made an application to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to approve what is called an “Addition to Reserve” or ATR, for a property made an offer on, located on York Road near Campbell River, on Vancouver Island. At the time, were hoping to have a signed order in Council by September 2016, but the process took longer, as there were details outside of the ATR process that had to be addressed. The study team for the ATR worked hard to ensure that issues were resolved before submitting the completed package to Ottawa for review and approval.
The last details on the ATR process were completed and the application was sent to Ottawa.
We received a call from Indigenous Affairs in Vancouver in December 2017 that Chief Justice McLaughlin signed the Order in Council that gave the lands reserve status. Our purchase of the York Road property was finalized in the spring of 2018.
To celebrate this achievement and milestone in our efforts to create a new community for our people, elders, chiefs, both Crown officials and local politicians attended the unveiling of the Nenagwas sign and witnessed the blessing of the new property for National Indigenous Peoples’ Day (June 21, 2018).
Planning next steps
We have hired Brian Chatwin of Chatwin Engineering to conduct an infrastructure feasibility study regarding all elements of our community (from soil, to water and other public services, and much more). Brian Chatwin only works with First Nations in community development, and is highly regarded by INAC for the work his company does for First Nations. His work began in January.
We have also met with the City of Campbell River representatives on possibilities of connecting to their water and sewer system, which looks very positive. The feasibility will view the cost benefit of connecting the City’s systems. Discussions with Campbell River on sewer services are also ongoing. The city is growing, and they want to make sure their systems can handle the extra flow. These issues will also be examined in the feasibility study.
We have met with Ministry of Highways to address our concerns regarding the road interchange at the old Hwy 19A and York Rd. And, we have met with the Area D Residents Ratepayers Association to update them on our progress.
We want your input
To gather input from our citizens, there will be a Tlowitsis citizens’ meeting following completion of the draft feasibility study for the new community, which we expect to receive this fall.
We’ll notify Tlowitsis members via email and Facebook when this meeting has been scheduled. You can also check our News and Events section for the latest information on upcoming events near you.
Other key milestones in the development of the community (pending finalization of funding for each step):
- Land clearing and rights-of-way roads and paths begins
- Construction groundbreaking ceremony
- Completion of first building at Nenagwas
- Construction of first community buildings complete
We’ll update this timeline with more details on when these events will be happening as they come available, and will be sure to promote upcoming information and celebration events in our News and Events section.
*Assumes all funding and approvals move ahead according to plan, and there are no significant planning or construction delays.