The Homalco First Nation acquired 390 acres of land, which Chief Darren Blaney says will be used to boost the Nation’s economic potential with housing, new businesses and other endeavours.
“We did a signing ceremony with Mosaic for the purchase of 390 acres,” said Chief Darren Blaney. “Now we’re looking at 550 acres, after all is said and done. It was nice to get that done.”
The ceremony, held on Jan. 19 at Homalco Hall, was a historic moment for the Nation. Blaney said that he had been working on the project since he was elected in 2017, but that it was an idea that had been around for decades.
“It should have been done a long time ago,” he said. “It seems like we bounced it around for a while. We started with 100 acres, and then it just kind of snowballed this last year and we got a partnership together.”
The land is located around the Homalco Reserve, just south of Campbell River. Blaney said that the Nation has a few ideas about what to do with the land, including the potential for a gas station, a hotel, some office space and potentially more housing.
“Forty per cent of our population is under 29 years old. The need for housing is only going to increase. You can see it, we went from 25 (people) on the (housing wait) list to 50 in the last two years. It’s growing as quickly as we develop.”
Another potential idea, he said, is to build a kind of recovery area and treatment facility for people who use alcohol and drugs.
“It opens up all the economic opportunities around us,” he said. “We have a fiduciary obligation to grow that money, grow our economy and grow our revenues so that we can start to meet the other needs that are coming.”