The approximately 100 acres of land that is owned by the Ts’uubaa-asatx (Lake Cowichan) First Nation along North Shore Road is a busy place these days.
Tractors, dump trucks and busy labourers cover the area as work continues on a number of ambitious projects that the Ts’uubaa-asatx has embarked upon in recent years.
Aaron Hamilton, the First Nation’s operations manager, said the first phase of the residential development that is being constructed on waterfront property on the acreage has been sold out, with nine of the 26 houses in the first phase expected to be completed by the end of the year.
He said the development’s second phase, which is planned to be about the same size as the first, is scheduled to begin in September, and phases three and four will follow over the next 10 years.
“The housing is selling quickly because real estate is still red hot in Lake Cowichan and across the Cowichan Valley due to the fact that there just isn’t enough inventory right now, and we’re capitalizing on that,” Hamilton said.
“We’re also creating an access to our recently completed 28-slip marina that we have constructed on the waterfront, which will be exclusively for use by people in the housing development, and that work should be completed by next month.”
Hamilton said that when the access to the marina is complete, the First Nation’s Kaatza Adventures, a rental company that deals in kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats and other water craft, will move from its current land-based location to the marina to allow easier access to the water.
He said future plans for the 100 acres, only about half of which can be developed, include storage facilities and homes for the members of the First Nation, which currently number approximately 30.
Hamilton said the Ts’uubaa-asatx’s head office is also in the midst of a major expansion and renovation that will see its footprint double in size.
He said the First Nation Health Authority has provided funding so that medical examination rooms can be added to the head office for when nurses and other health officials visit the First Nation for medical checks.
“We’ve also received funding from the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society to create space in the head office for early-learning and continuing education programs,” Hamilton said.
“The work at the head office is long overdue.”
Hamilton said the Ts’uubaa-asatx’s enterprising and extensive development plans are largely the result of the members’ update of their community plan in 2017, in which the plans were formulated in a general way before taking shape in the following years and leading to the work currently underway.
“Our overall dream is to become self sufficient and raise enough revenue to look after our people in a healthy way,” he said.
“We want our next generations to have access to finances and resources to pursue their educations and receive the supports they need in their lives. We’re making the best of what we have with finite resources.”