Adding the former Woodwynn Farm property to the existing reserve of the Tsartlip First Nation could take years, if the band were to make that choice, after it took ownership of the site earlier in December. (Black Press Media File).

Adding the former Woodwynn Farm property to the existing reserve of the Tsartlip First Nation could take years, if the band were to make that choice, after it took ownership of the site earlier in December. (Black Press Media File).

Tsartlip First Nation can add former Woodwynn Farm to reserve but faces lengthy process

Average length for reserve addition between five to seven years if band chooses that route

It is not clear yet how a local First Nation plans to use the former Woodwynn Farms site, but it could take years to be added to the existing reserve should that be the choice.

Tsartlip First Nation Chief Don Tom said earlier this month that the leadership of the nation will now consult its more than 1,000 members about best possible uses for the former Woodwynn Farm property after assuming possession on Dec. 16.

Tom said his nation is excited to acquire the 78-hectare property because it will help the nation expand its land base. The land, once used by the Tsartlip First Nation for hunting, farming and traditional practices, lies next to the nation’s only reserve. With more than 1,000 members, the community has run out of space to fulfill housing, recreational and cultural needs.

Tsartlip First Nation now owns the land as ordinary private property within the Agricultural Land Reserve after having purchased the farm from BC Housing through a $7.77-million grant from the provincial government.

“If they decide in future to add the property to their reserve, there is a federal process they would go through to do that,” said Tania Venn, communications manager with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Venn said the Tsartlip First Nation’s private purchase of the property from BC Housing did not require consultation with the federal government.

Additions to reserves can take place under three conditions: legal obligations and agreements; tribunal decisions; and community additions, when a First Nation with an existing reserve needs additional reserve land for uses that include the accommodation of community growth and the protection of culturally significant sites.

RELATED: Tsartlip First Nation takes possession of former Woodwynn Farm

Additions can be adjacent or apart from reserves, with additions both possible in rural or urban settings.

A 2005 report by the Auditor General of Canada found the average addition process (prior to recent legislative changes in 2018 under the Addition of Lands to Reserves and Reserve Creation Act) took five to seven years.

Other high-profile additions during the past decade elsewhere in British Columbia (be it by size or location) have taken place in Greater Vancouver (Musqueam), West Kelowna (West Bank First Nation) and northern British Columbia including the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation.

BC Housing purchased the site in July 2018 and has leased it to a local farmer, who is actively farming the property. That lease has been extended to September 2021.

The Peninsula News Review reached out multiple times to the Tsartlip First Nation for comment, but did not receive a response.

Martin Collins, the director of policy and planning for the Agricultural Land Commission, said the commission has no authority over additions to reserves.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read