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B.C. government buys Sage Hills land for treaty settlement

With federal funds, the Province has purchased the property in Royston where a company called Sage Hills had planned to create a sustainable community, as confirmed by all parties involved.

Val Wright of Royal LePage in the Comox Valley sold the 2,083-acre property for $4.9 million, about $150,000 above the listed price. The Supreme Court of B.C. approved the deal last week.

The provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation has said the land will be included in the final settlement package in K'ómoks First Nation treaty negotiations. The property is adjacent to land already offered to the band.

"Obviously there is a shortage of Crown lands in the Comox Valley," KFN chief negotiator Mark Stevenson said. "Additional lands made available for us is something that we require if we could have a final agreement, because the land package is not enough."

The band has approved an Agreement in Principle — the fourth of six stages in the B.C. Treaty commission process, but Stevenson said more land is required to finalize an agreement.

"They (senior levels of government) haven't made the offer to us, but if they do then presumably that would be included in the final agreement," he said.

The Sage Hills property is adjacent to an area in Royston where the KFN has a woodlot, which was part of the offering in the AIP.

"It's a significant size as well," Stevenson said. "We have properties that are adjacent to the Kensington development, and we have the woodlot which is also adjacent to Kensington and which borders the Sage Hills property. All of those pieces would make one contiguous piece.

"The Agreement in Principle is a good Agreement in Principle but it made provisions for additional lands to be added. Presumably that's going to happen," Stevenson added.

He notes outstanding issues include a forest licence — which the KFN requires but does not have — as well as fisheries and fiscal negotiations.

"At this point Canada doesn't have a mandate to pursue fiscal negotiations or fish negotiations, and we're waiting for that to happen."

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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