Huu-ay-aht First Nations makes significant investment to rebuild Bamfield

ANACLA, BC, Jan. 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Huu-ay-aht First Nations is pleased to announce the purchase of a number of properties in Bamfield Inlet. The deal involved 11 parcels, and it represents a significant investment in the community. Purchasing these properties shows the Nation's commitment to restoring its presence in the village that borders its Traditional Territory, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Huu-ay-aht has been investigating the investment since the spring of 2015. The properties were bought as a package and include residential lots, businesses, land with cultural significance and land with future development potential.

Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. said the work that the previous government put into this acquisition is greatly appreciated, and he is proud to see it receive support from citizens at their People's Assembly. By closing this deal, the Huu-ay-aht have made a commitment in Bamfield to continue to build strong relationships between their Nation and the community members.

"We have many citizens who remember growing up in what is now Bamfield Inlet," Tayii Ḥaw̓ił (head chief) Derek Peters explained. "So to gain some of it back is a step in the right direction."

Over the years, residents have watched businesses close and the properties that once housed them fall into varying levels of disrepair. By purchasing these properties, Huu-ay-aht hopes to breathe new life into the area and create a bright future for its citizens and residents of Bamfield. The Nation sees this as a potential springboard for revitalization of these historic properties and expand the economic opportunities for tourism in the area.

"This is an integral piece to developing a strong Huu-ay-aht economy on our Traditional Territory," explained Huu-ay-aht Councillor Trevor Cootes. "The Bamfield Property acquisition will be a cornerstone to the Nations' Economic Plan, which will guide us into the future."

Moving forward, the Nation will be working with the community to establish a plan for the future. "We want to build on the relationship we have with Bamfield residents," said Dennis. "We will hold meetings with Bamfield residents and Huu-ay-aht citizens to inform them of the acquisition and our future plans."

Huu-ay-aht takes possession of the properties immediately. The first step will be establishing each property's potential and what role it will play in the future of the Nation. As part of the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses, the Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation (HDC) will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the businesses. The CEO for HDC, Gary Wilson, is optimistic that this purchase will open doors and create opportunities for the Nation and its neighbours.

Wilson said their main focus will be ensuring there is a smooth transition, while adding Huu-ay-aht's signature to current businesses.

"We are looking forward to getting ready for the upcoming tourist season," said Wilson. "This will mean jobs and opportunities for Huu-ay-aht. We will focus on training and capacity building to enable us to participate in the tourism and hospitality industries in the region."

SOURCE Huu-ay-aht First Nations

For further information: Heather Thomson, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, 250-723-0100 ex. 222 or 250-720-7776 | heather.t@huuayaht.org; Backgrounder and photos available upon request.

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