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

Just Posted

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Graeme Wright is the owner of Hullabaloo, a new ice cream and coffee food truck serving patrons at the Red Barn on West Saanich. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff).
VIDEO: Cool treats, warm bevvies a specialty for new Saanich food truck

Hullabaloo owner Graeme Wright passionate about blending green space with sustainability

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Vancouver Island man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Most Read