A large film studio project is being proposed for the Malahat. Pictured is a graphic of the project. (Submitted graphic)

A large film studio project is being proposed for the Malahat. Pictured is a graphic of the project. (Submitted graphic)

Huge film studio development proposed for Malahat Nation lands

Project estimated to provide about 1,500 jobs

A huge film studio is being proposed for the Malahat, near Mill Bay.

The Malahat Nation is partnering with Victoria-based Alpha Select Production Services Inc. in the proposal to build an ambitious 80-acre studio project, which would be called Malahat Film Studios, on its land.

The project would include six world-class sound stages as well as related offices and workshops, a technical academy for apprenticeships and skills-transfer training, a business park, office park, and an industrial zone, as well as a shopping village and hotel.

At full scale, the project is forecast to provide 1,500 direct jobs for the region, which would make it among the top employers in the area.

RELATED STORY: B.C. FILM INDUSTRY GIVEN GO-AHEAD TO RESTART PRODUCTIONS HALTED DUE TO COVID-19

Beverley Dondale, CEO of Alpha Select Production Services, and Josh Handysides, CAO of the Malahat Nation, recently appeared as a delegation to a meeting of the board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District and said the proposed project has completed the pre-feasibility stage and is now moving into the feasibility study stage with the potential of being completed in the next few years.

Dondale requested that the CVRD provide a letter of support regarding the project, stating that it is one of the last pieces of the puzzle her company’s investors require to provide funding.

A staff report from the district’s Economic Development Division indicated that the motion picture industry contributed $3.2 billion to the B.C. economy in 2018 to 2019.

The report said the direct economic impact of location-based film activity in the region in recent years is estimated to be several million dollars per year.

“Cowichan does not presently have a dedicated film studio. Economic Development Cowichan’s strategic plan identifies sector development goals related to film, including working toward the development of permanent film production facilities and film services in the Cowichan Valley,” the report said.

“The proposed Malahat Film Studio, if completed as envisioned, would act on this goal, and be a major economic driver for the region related to foreign direct investment, employment, and apprenticeship and training opportunities. The project would also impact the demand for housing, other development, and related services, in proximity to the site.”

RELATED STORY: SCENES FROM THE TELEVISION SERIES ‘SUPER PUPZ’ FILMED IN DOWNTOWN DUNCAN

The report concluded that the proposed project represents a significant economic opportunity for the region.

“Given the alignment with the EDC strategic plan, it would be appropriate for EDC staff to provide a letter of support to Malahat Nation for a proposed film and production studio,” it said.

Kate Marsh, a CVRD director from North Cowichan, said she is excited to see and imagine what the project would bring to the region.

“Seeing Mill Bay become a mecca for film is almost numbingly exciting,” she said.

CVRD Chairman Aaron Stone, who is also the mayor of Ladysmith, said he has had experience with the film industry after several filming projects in the town over the last few years.

“One of things I heard from those filming in Ladysmith was that they wished there was more studio space here, and they talked about the need for more storage space for their gear as well,” he said.

“This would be a great opportunity for the Island.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

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

Just Posted

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

(Pixabay photo)
Emergency repairs underway on Phillips Road in Sooke

Sewage may have entered DeMamiel Creek and Sooke River

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Jail cell - Reporter file photo
Two of Greater Victoria’s most notorious teenaged killers have parole privileges extended

Derik Lord gets overnight privileges while Kelly Ellard’s are extended

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Smaller egg farmers find themselves in a David and Goliath situation when it comes to major producers and chain-grocery store shelf space. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island egg producer cries foul over ‘Island’ label

Egg farmer frustrated with regulations allowing mainland-laid eggs to be labelled ‘Island’

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled by fire at a Duncan-area school for the second time this week

Fire this morning at Duncan area middle school follows Monday blaze at nearby elementary

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
Police seek public’s help after ‘tire slashing spree’ in central Nanaimo

Ten reports of slashed tires in the last three days, say Nanaimo RCMP

Most Read