The T’Sou-ke Nation calls it Sacred Mountain and the area holds a special place in their cultural heritage. The valleys and hills stretched out across what is now known as Broom Hill, are all in the traditional lands of the T ‘Sou-ke Nation. It is one of the places where the band hunted, gathered and lived.
On February 26, the province signed a agreement which would see the band, over time, acquire two 60-hectare (296 acres) parcels of Crown land. The two lots, Section 40 and 41, lie in the area between Otter Point Road near Poirier Lake and Cedar Park Place in Sooke. One 60-hectare parcel was transfered to the T’Sou-ke Nation at the signing of the Incremental Treaty Agreement and the remaining parcel will be transfered when the band signs the agreement-in-principle, one of the steps in the final treaty process. These benefits are considered an advance by B.C. of a portion of the provincial share of a future treaty settlement package.
“It’s good to get the land back,” said T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes. “We have to go through quite a process. It is one step of many, we have a lot of work to do.”
What the land will be used for will be determined by the T’Sou-ke community said Planes. He said environmental concerns and ensuring the land was there for future generations was his main concern.
“It’s an act of faith from the province,” he said. “A lot of land, part of the Douglas Treaty, was taken away from us.”
The lands will be transferred in fee simple and will be subject to provincial and federal laws, as well as being subject to local government zoning and taxation.
The T’Sou-ke Nation is one of five First Nations bands that comprise the Te-mexw Treaty Association formed in 1995 when they entered the treaty process. The other bands include The Songhees Nation (Esquimalt); Scia’new Nation (Beecher Bay); Malahat Nation and the Snaw-naw-as Nation (Nanoose).
The Scia’new Nation will receive 67 hectares located between the District of Sooke and Metchosin, bounded by Nagle and Connie Roads.
Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks said he is “delighted for Chief Planes and the T’Sou-ke First Nation.
“I know they will be a great addition to the neighbourhood,” said Hicks.
Hicks said the zoning is Rural A, which means, if it were to be developed there would be a 10-acre minimum lot size for one house and one accessory building, or if it was a strata it could potentially have four houses on 10 acres.