A view of some of the DND land in the Mary Hill area in Metchosin as seen from Pedder Bay. (Photo courtesy of Troy Dierk)

Beecher Bay First Nation, Metchosin and Pearson College sign land memorandum

Groups seek a shared vision for Mary Hill land

Rick Stiebel

News staff

The three parties involved in developing a common vision for the Mary Hill lands in Metchosin have established preservation and prosperity as common goals.

The Beecher Bay (Sc’ianew) First Nation, the District of Metchosin and Pearson College UWC signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday that calls for them to work together on planning the future of an area known as Mary Hill, which includes about 74 acres of land in Metchosin that includes Pearson College within the unceded traditional territories of Beecher Bay First Nation.

Beecher Bay is currently negotiating a modern land claim agreement with the government of Canada as part of the British Columbia Treaty Process through the Te’mexw Treaty Association. The Sc’ianew First Nation is identifying lands that may be part of its treaty settlement lands as part of the process, including the disposition of Mary Hill and its potential inclusion in the First nation’s treaty package.

Chief Russ Chipps emphasized in a media release that the MOU demonstrates Beecher Bay’s commitment to work with its neighbouring communities now and into the future. “This MOU is a significant milestone in our relationship with our neighbours, Metchosin and Pearson College UWC. It will lay the foundation for strategic planning based on community input and, more importantly, reconciliation.

READ ALSO: Spirit Bay Development gets $2.9M boost

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns underlined Metchosin’s commitment to the spirit of the agreement. “We have a continuing and vital interest in preserving the rural character of Metchosin,” he said. “We are very pleased to work with our colleagues on the Beecher Bay First Nation and our neighbours at Pearson College UWC to help maintain not only the character, but also the natural environment o our community.”

Under the MOU, the three parties will collaborate on land use planning based on their respective interests. That includes maintaining green zones and protected areas while providing the foundation for advancing Beecher Bay’s economic interests. Specific locations and land uses will be developed in a working group that will report to their respective governing bodies.

Pearson College president Desiree McGraw echoed the other parties’ comments as well.

“The goodwill and spirit of collaboration by all parties in this agreement demonstrates our mutual desire to honour the land on which we live and, in our case, on which our students from across Canada and around the world learn.”

Establishing the MOU are important lessons in showing reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations in action at a local and neighbourly level, she added.

The Department of National Defence, which currently holds the Mary Hill lands, previously indicated they are no longer required for DND use. The Pearson College lands are owned by the college for as long as every part of the land is used for the college’s purposes.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

Funds raised through off-road cycling event will help improve Central Saanich bike trails

Tripleshot Cycling Club presents $3,000 cheque to Nature Trails Society

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read