You are witnessing the birth of Oyster Bay

Ivy Green clearing for commercial development project first step in ambitious development plan north of Ladysmith

This concept plan for Oyster Bay shows assisted living west of the railway

This concept plan for Oyster Bay shows assisted living west of the railway

The trees coming down opposite the Husky station with the arrival of spring were the first to herald the news.

The billboard announcements expected to arrive this week will drive the message home.

Years of planning by the Stz’uminus First Nation could start bearing fruit this summer with the first steps in the creation of what could essentially be a new village north of Ladysmith.

Over the next 20 years, 65 acres of reserve property at the old Ivy Green site is expected to be transformed into the new $400 million community of Oyster Bay. Eventually, it could include approximately 200,000 square feet of commercial space, up to 200 new residential homes, 160 to 200 assisted living and extended care units, 53 seniors’ patio homes and an 80-unit waterfront hotel able to host conventions.

Most of these features are not likely to be developed for a while. Some may be a long way down the road. But construction could get underway on the first stages of commercial development as early as this summer.

“Basically, what we are doing is clearing it and preparing for construction,” Coast Salish Development Corporation CEO Ray Gauthier said. “The community is really excited because they are ready for this to happen.”

The cleared site opposite the Husky is being targeted for a small shopping centre, similar in character to the recently built Chemainus Village Square mall. The band is targetting a 21,000-square-foot grocery store to be the anchor of a plaza that could include up to 40,000 square-feet of additional commercial and office space.

The next two months will be spent spent working with architects on formal design plans and trying to turn interested businesses into committed tenants. Gauthier said construction is likely to get underway as soon as enough pre-lease agreements have been reached.

He said marketing studies and preliminary talks with a variety of prospective businesses indicate there is enough interest to take this step. Getting one aspect of the project underway can, in turn, inspire investment into other areas.

“We have an idea where we are going but that is really the driver of the architectural process. It is no longer conceptual, it’s becoming real,” Gauthier said.

Funded by the band, without any government assistance, this ambitious project is being counted on to bring prosperity to the Stz’uminus people. But Gauthier cautions it is a long-term vision, not a quick fix. He said the revenue generated by each leased acre is not huge in and of itself. It’s after putting each acre to use over a lengthy period of time that the return starts to add up.

“It’s not like the band is going to be jumping up and down this year and saying it hit the jackpot,” he said. “Over a 10-year window it’s a 7% return. Over 50 years it’s 30%. We are looking at generating revenue for 50 years and compound that by 50 years over 65 acres.”

Because the property itself is on the reserve, it cannot be sold. But both the homes and the commercial buildings themselves can be. Each will be marketed on the basis of either long-term leasing agreements or strata building purchases. The housing and assisted living accommodations are not band housing, but open to anyone, regardless of background.

The recent renovation of the Husky was the first step in setting the tone for a development envisioned as a nice, middle-class community.

The property is fully serviced through connections to the Town of Ladysmith, with all the correct land use planning in place. Essentially, the band has drawn up a vision and created all the necessary infrastructure. All that needs to be done now is to find the right partners to develop the various phases.

According to Gauthier, the band wants to work with developers who have proven track records of success in each project area: commercial, residential, hotel and assisted living.

“Realistically, there could be a population of 1,000 people when it is complete,” he said, adding that the Stz’uminus people have been there for 150 years but have never embarked anything approaching this scope.

“It’s huge,” he said. The community is really stepping out.”

For more details on the Oyster Bay plan, go to oysterbaydevelopment.com.

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read