Murray Rankin
(Murray Rankin/BC Gov Flickr)

B.C’s provincial government has purchased a 3.4-hectare parcel of land in View Royal for the purposes of returning it to the Esquimalt Nation.

The province announced the acquisition on Monday and says the move comes as part of the early stages of a reconciliation agreement with Esquimalt Nation and the federal government.

“While we are at the beginning of our discussions with Esquimalt Nation and the broader community about the land, we see its significant potential for supporting Esquimalt Nation to thrive and prosper, which benefits everyone who lives in the region,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

The Thetis Cove property is located off Hallowell Road, directly adjacent to Esquimalt Nation’s only reserve, beside the E&N rail line.

It was purchased from a private owner for $13 million. With limited available land, Esquimalt Nation says the property is an opportunity for more housing and commercial development opportunities.

“The return of our land will be a significant step in reconciliation and provides an opportunity to work constructively with other levels of government to create a healthy and prosperous future for our community,” said Esquimalt Nation Chief Robert Thomas.

The province says they will retain the property until an agreement with Esquimalt Nation is negotiated and the land transfer process can be completed. They say this process is expected to take three to five years.

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