A Nanaimo First Nation has signed another historic deal with the federal government, taking ownership of nearly 200 acres in south Nanaimo.
The lands directly south and west of Vancouver Island University, known as the “Camp Nanaimo” lands, are being set aside as a reserve for the Snuneymuxw [snue-ney-mowck] First Nation. They include land to the west of Highway 19, which the nation plans to develop into new housing.
Nearly half of the lands south of VIU are being eyed for commercial development, and a new health centre.
The deal has been in the works since 2003. The nation says it honours an 1854 treaty with the Crown, which promised to “forever and always” preserve their land access rights.
“We fought for an agreement that accurately responds to the legal authority of our Snuneymuxw Saarlequun Treaty of 1854. We fought for a resolution that did not require the Nation to give up rights,” said Chief Mike Wyse. “Today, we celebrate reaching an agreement that honours our people and our pre-confederation treaty, the strongest agreement available to Canada.”
The nation recently took over 200 hectares of forest near Mount Benson in a similar deal with the province.