The Cheanuh First Nation (Beecher Bay First Nations, also referred to as Scia’new), located on 4901 East Sooke Road, has voted to modify their Beecher Bay Land Code Amendment to allow for development.
“The Band held a membership-wide vote on July 10th to consider changes to its Land Code that would prepare its lands for future development,” reads the Cheanuh’s press release.
“Our membership is in need of better jobs and housing,” asserts Chief Russell Chipps, also in the press release. “We are committed to creating a sustainable development plan that the Cheanuh people will be proud of.”
The first step in moving towards this future development is to close the campground effective August 11, 2013. The campground has 125 lots on it, and houses many permanent residents. Some, like Rene Patenaude, have lived there for decades and have come to call it home.
The vote took place on July 10. Of 179 eligible names, 90 band members turned out to vote. Seventy voted in favour of amending the Land Code, and 25 — including former Chief Burt Charles — voted against it.
Residents of the campground have 30 days to vacate.
“As of August 12th, 2013,” reads the Notice to Vacate, “any items left on the property will be deemed to be the property of Beecher Bay First Nation.”
The Notice also indicates that a relocation coordinator is available, as is a storage location for items that cannot be moved within the allowable time.
A separate vote will take place on the actual development plan, which has yet to be drafted.
A more detailed article, including interviews with the residents of the camp ground, Chief Russell Chipps and some band members, will appear in Wednesday’s Sooke News Mirror.