A James Bay parking lot, Esquimalt liquor store and the downtown Victoria headquarters of the Provincial Capital Commission are among the land being transferred to First Nations as part of incremental treaty deals, the government announced Tuesday.
Five Vancouver Island First Nations signed incremental treaty agreements with the government during a ceremony at the B.C. legislature.
The deals will give quick benefits to the First Nations as they work to finalize their treaties, said Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
The Songhees Nation, located in Esquimalt and Victoria, will receive a parking lot on Michigan Street in James Bay, the government liquor store property at Admirals and Esquimalt Roads in Esquimalt and the headquarters of the Provincial Capital Commission on Pandora Avenue in Victoria.
The parking lot and liquor store property will be transferred almost immediately, the government said. The capital commission site, located near Victoria city hall and adjoining the CTV Vancouver Island building, will be transferred when the final treaty is signed, expected to be within 24 months, the government said.
“Signing a modern treaty will have a huge impact for our communities for generations to come,” said Gary Albany, Songhees Nation councillor.
The Snaw-naw-as Nation, in Nanoose, will receive two three-hectare properties in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The Malahat Nation, south of Shawnigan Lake, will receive a 64-hectare parcel of land, as well as a 120-hectare parcel after the final treaty is signed.
The Scia’new Nation, in Beecher Bay, will receive 67 hectares of land with the T’Sou-ke in the District of Sooke.
“It’s a good day today,” said T’Sou-ke Nation chief Gordon Planes.
The nation is getting back its “sacred mountain” called broom hill, as well as village sites that belonged to its people.
“Today is a very important day for all of us and our ancestors will look back on this,” he said.
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