The potential of lands surrounding the Coyote Rock Golf Course will be able to be unlocked by the Williams Lake Indian Band.
The Band held a successful referendum Thursday that saw nearly 70 percent of voters vote in favour of proceeding with the leasing of Coyote Rock lands.
“With the commercial lots and the residential lots, and upon buildout it’s going to create hundreds of jobs, it’s going to start building a tax base for the Williams Lake Indian Band, it’s going to start to generate some lease revenue that we’re going to able to build out consecutive phases over the next 10, 20 years,” says Councillor Willie Sellars.
“It’s the future of the Williams Lake Indian Band and we’re pretty excited.”
The first phase of the Coyote Rock residential development will see the sale of 28 lake-view lots with purchasers obtaining a renewable 125 year lease of the residential lots.
Chief Ann Louie says that the building of the first residential homes and commercial developments will begin this year.
“This referendum was a requirement of our Land Code,” said Louie in a release.
“We had a vote on leasing these lands back in 2004, but that vote was conducted under the Indian Act. In 2014, WLIB entered the First Nations Land Management regime and became self-governing over lands management. So we had to conduct another vote under our own law to authorize the leases. We’re extremely pleased that we had a favourable outcome in the vote and that we obtained such a solid mandate from our membership to proceed with our economic development plans.”
The Coyote Rock subdivision development is a roughly 30 acre multi-use development, consisting of 90 residential lots and 10 commercial lots.
The band has invested $8 million dollars into the project that has been in development for more than five years and integrates with the four-laning and other improvements to Highway 97 through WLIB Indian Reserve #1.
“What the fire (in summer 2017) did was it delayed the highway project which is then delaying access to our site. So instead of building last year we now going to be are building this year which is too bad,” says Sellars.
“An act of God is not something that you can plan for.”