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

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

South Island Transportation Strategy looks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles

EV charging stations, bike lockers, new park-and-ride stalls among solutions in Capital Region

New crop of hand-crafted hearts popping up across Saanich

Community arts program promotes wellness, sends message of caring from people of all ages

Meet the Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Roxanne Helme about ‘governance, not politics’

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Sooke’s Sheringham Distillery wins gold award

Local business wins Product of Year at B.C. Food and Beverage Awards

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Most Read