David Butterfield showing the architectural model of Spirit Bay.

David Butterfield showing the architectural model of Spirit Bay.

Multi-million dollar Spirit Bay opens sales centre

Beecher Bay Band and Trust for Sustainable Development partner up

Development will aid Beecher Bay band

The new development at Beecher Bay, known as Spirit Bay, is going full steam ahead.

On Wednesday, May 7, the press and government officials got a sneak peak at Spirit Bay’s first building and an architectural model of the phases of development.

Spirit Bay is a result of a partnership between the Sc’ianew (Chenuh) Beecher Bay Band and the Trust for Sustainable Development headed by David Butterfield, with a respective 51 to 49 per cent split in ownership. Spirit Bay will ultimately include between 500 to 800 residential units on 100 acres, estimated to be built over the next 10 years. The units will be sold based on a 99-year lease, and they will be priced from $259,900 and up. The project is worth $300 to $400-million.

Chief Russell Chipps and David Butterfield hosted the May 7 event, and those in attendance included Grand Chief Doug Kelly,  Leader of the Opposition John Horgan, and Juan de Fuca director Mike Hicks.

Interestingly, the impetus behind this entire project was the desire of the Beecher Bay Band to get BC Transit to provide service to their community.

“It might sound funny,” Chief Chipps half-joked at the end of his welcome speech, “when we started out with this venture, it was about getting the bus here. We just wanted the transit bus to come pick some of us up here.” This incentive, he said, was what ultimately got them started “down this road.”

Online documentation dating back to 2007 shows the Beecher Bay First Nations requesting regular transit service to their community. It still hasn’t come to pass. Literally.

The real, long term motivation for this development, though, is two fold. First and most immediate, the development will provide viable, long term employment opportunities for the First Nation people at Beecher Bay. To date, employment opportunities have materialized.

“Everything that’s been done here from day one has been done by our people,” said Chief Chipps.  “The site clean up initially engaged about 30 band members, and there are currently about 15 still employed at cleaning the site.”

The second bigger-picture objective, is to create opportunity for future generations.

“This venture is not about the adults in the community; it’s about the future, it’s about a new vision, it’s about a new way of life for us. … this is about our children,” said Chief Chipps.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly endorsed Chipps’ vision.

“I really appreciated his (Chief Chipps) remarks about children. I really appreciated his remarks about the job of leadership. The job of leadership is to create hope, that our children have an opportunity for a better tomorrow, that they have an opportunity that the adults did not have,” commented Kelly.

NDP Leader John Horgan echoed their sentiments.

“Whenever I come upon Russ, that’s his preoccupation, is the next generation. I’ve learned so much from you Russ, and so much from the Cheanuh people, about the importance of passing on a better world to the generation that comes after us.”

“Projects, like (Spirit Bay) we all need to look at as a society, as a nation, as a global community,” said Grand Chief Kelly. “We’re taking far too much away from Mother Earth, and if we continue to do that, we won’t be leaving our grandchildren very much. So these kinds of projects, and the way we look at how we develop our own homes and our own housing, and how we take care of Mother Earth, it’s an opportunity to learn and to do things differently.”

“I feel that for my generation the great challenge has been how do you develop human habitation without destroying the eco-system,” said David Butterfield. He hopes to take sustainable living to a “whole different level here.”

“The first initiative we are going to do is that we are going to go with a district heating system,” said Butterfield. “(It) means that people living here will have their homes heated and their hot water heated by a transfer of heat from the ocean.” His vision is known as ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), which uses the temperature difference between cooler (deep) and warmer (shallow, or surface) ocean waters to produce heat.

Chief Chipps acknowledged the different viewpoints moving into the project.

“Not everyone is buying into the (Spirit Bay) Group, but (a 100 per cent approval) is never ever going to happen,” said Chipps.

Band support was ultimately quite high. Three different votes were required to move this project from concept to reality. The bylaw passed at 80 per cent.

The presentation centre opened to the public on Saturday, May 10.

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

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read