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

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of the structure

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: Prince of Wales visited Sooke twice

Royal connections to Lady Emily Walker and Rev. Reginald Walker

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read