EDITORIAL: Just deal with treaty in Comox Valley

We sense some local displeasure that the B.C. government bought land to be part of a treaty settlement with the K’ómoks people.

We sense some local displeasure that the B.C. government bought land to be part of a treaty settlement with the K’ómoks people.

In a legal process, Victoria outbid Sage Hills Developments Ltd. for a 2,083-acre property.

Sage Hills, a subsidiary of Vancouver Island-based IAC-Independent Academies Canada Inc., planned to create a sustainable community between Royston and Cumberland. It would have included a sports academy, private university and a K-to-12 school.

Company announcements about the ambitious project dried up recently, perhaps due to a faltering global economy.

Sage Hills is not disputing the B.C. Supreme Court decision about the land, and phone numbers for company officials are out of service. This implies the development was dead on its feet, so there should be no complaints about government interference.

The successful bid by the B.C. government, with funding from Ottawa, was about $150,000 above the list price. That’s not much on a $4.9-million sale and is equivalent to what any of us might do if we were in a bidding war over a home we really wanted, so there should be no upset about waste of taxpayer dollars.

Governments became interested due to a shortage of Crown land in the Comox Valley that can be used in a treaty settlement.

The Sage Hills property is adjacent to land already offered to the band, which can’t do much with small plots scattered all over the region. A smaller plot next to 2,083 acres is another story.

Is anybody upset about interference from the feds and their tax-filled pockets helping the provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation? You shouldn’t be.

In the B.C. Treaty Commission process, the Province typically supplies land in treaty deals, while the Canadian government contributes money.

While unorthodox, this latest transaction follows that pattern.

Upset that native bands are getting land and cash? You’re just going to have to deal with that.


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