Sale of Dunsmuir lands and lodge completed

All conditions have been met to complete the transfer of the Dunsmuir lands from the University of Victoria to new ownership.

Sale of the 100-acre Dunsmuir property in North Saanich closed Jan. 2, 2018, with Homewood Health acquiring a lodge building and 28 acres of forest and road. In a separate agreement, the Pauquachin First Nation’s Bok´ec´en Xaxe (Sacred) Society acquires the remaining 72 acres of woodlands and wetlands.

The Dunsmuir lands were part of the non-academic property portfolio managed by UVic Properties on the university’s behalf.

The District of North Saanich granted rezoning of the lands in the summer of 2017 and subdivision approval in late 2017. A final condition of the transaction in spring 2018 will see UVic contract for the construction of public trails on rights-of-way on Homewood’s property and on land donated by UVic with the cooperation of the Pauquachin.

The trails, part of UVic’s commitment to the community to provide access to John Dean Provincial Park, will become part of the District of North Saanich’s public trail system. UVic had held continuing discussions for the Dunsmuir lands with the Pauquachin First Nation since the lodge closed in 2009. Homewood Health expressed interest in early 2015 to acquire and restore the lodge as a mental health and addictions facility.

Homewood entered into an agreement with the Pauquachin First Nation to collaborate on recognizing the historical and cultural heritage of the location, and provide opportunities for employment, education and health services. The neighbouring communities of Tsawout, Tseycum, and Tsartlip First Nations have also been given an opportunity to participate in the agreement.

Pauquachin Chief Rebecca David says acquisition of the land called LÁU,WELNEW in the SENC´OT-EN language, or Place of Refuge, is a significant achievement for First Nations people.

“The Pauquachin want to protect and preserve this land as a sacred place for the future of our nation, as part of our traditional territory,” she says. A key part of the agreement is to foster a relationship with Homewood for employment and to provide improved mental health and addictions treatment for First Nations peoples.

After more than 20 years of operation as a conference centre and location for continuing education courses, UVic closed the lodge in 2009 due to decreased use and significant future investments to upgrade and maintain the property. The late George Poole donated Dunsmuir Lodge and its 100 acres of surrounding woodlands to UVic in 1985.


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Keywords: administrative

Publication: The Ring

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