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Land purchase brings early treaty benefit to Halalt First Nation

Halalt First Nation will benefit from immediate and future economic opportunities with the purchase of two commercial properties in North Cowichan, supported through funding from the provincial government.

“Halalt has been part of the treaty process for more than 25 years,” said Chief James Thomas of Halalt First Nation. “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 purchase of Crofton Corners, a business and residential complex, and Chemainus River Storage, a commercial property, both close to Halalt’s main reserve lands, advance treaty negotiations between the Nation and the Province. Halalt First Nation took ownership of the properties on March 20 and April 27, 2020, respectively.

“The Halalt people have been stewards of these lands for millennia,” said 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.”

These properties will allow Halalt First Nation to explore new business partnerships and create economic opportunity along the well-travelled route between Crofton, Chemainus and the Salt Spring Island ferry terminal. 

The Province provided $2.16 million for the land purchases under an Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA). ITAs offer First Nations within the treaty process an opportunity to take advantage of early treaty benefits, such as purchasing a property of interest.

Halalt First Nation 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 is immediately adjacent to the BC Ferries terminal serving Penelakut and Thetis islands. It is a popular spot with travellers and presents Penelakut with future economic development opportunities.

Cowichan Tribes purchased the 153-hectare Genoa Bay Farm property through an ITA in October 2019, restoring a significant piece of Cowichan Tribes traditional land base and cultural history. It is a mix of farmland, forest and beachfront, and is connected to Cowichan Tribes reserve lands, providing road access to land previously accessible only by water.

Quick Facts:

  • Halalt First Nation has more than 200 members and is located on southeast Vancouver Island, between Crofton and Chemainus.
  • Halalt First Nation purchased Crofton Corners for $1.05 million and Chemainus River Storage for $1.117 million.
  • Crofton Corners is located at the junction of Crofton and Chemainus roads, which connect Chemainus, Crofton and the Salt Spring Island ferry terminal. The property includes a commercial tenant, three two- and three-bedroom apartment suites, and a smaller commercial building with workshop. Chemainus River Storage is currently used for vehicle and boat storage, and offers future commercial development potential.
  • Halalt First Nation is one of five member Nations of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, which moved into the final stage of treaty negotiations with the provincial and federal governments in September 2019. The group includes Cowichan Tribes, Penelakut Tribe, Halalt First Nation, Lyackson First Nation and Ts’uubaa-asatx (Lake Cowichan First Nation).

Learn More:

Halalt First Nation:

Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group:

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