The Tsawwassen First Nation is open for business.
That’s the message TFN Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) Chief Executive Officer Chris Hartman gave guests at a Delta Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday (Feb. 16).
Hartman gave listeners an overview of TFN’s land use plan, which sets out the designations for their land which the First Nation gained control of when the treaty came into effect in April 2009.
“There’s an awful lot of things that TFN right now is working with in terms of moving this from land and a piece of paper to the best little seaside community in all of Canada,” he said.
Hartman said economic, social, environmental, and cultural sustainability are at the forefront.
For instance, important to the TEDC is the creation of sustainable jobs and training opportunities for TFN members.
“So every development project that comes in, we talk money, we talk opportunities. And it’s a very interesting conversation.”
For example, the TEDC is working on a program where TFN’s artisans can have the education and support to also become great businesspeople. It has also started a skills training centre for members so employers can look to TFN for trained workers.
About 335 acres in the land use plan have been set out for industrial development, an area Hartman said is a prime location for on-land activities that support container traffic given the site’s proximity to Deltaport.
He added TFN was the only First Nation to secure federal government stimulus funding from the Canada Economic Action Plan, currently being used to initiate development of the industrial lands.
By spring of this year, he expects the servicing of the first 100 acres of the industrial park to be complete.
Another 175 acres of TFN land is proposed for mixed use of commercial, hotel, business park and residential units.
About 175 acres of land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Other parcels on the map are designated commercial enterprise/residential, protected tidal marsh, and a managed forest area.
Hartman said they are letting people know they have a stable and predictable government and land ownership model that encourages development, and that as a result of their plans he believes TFN will become a destination.
Land ownership on TFN land comes in two forms: Tsawwassen public lands, and Tsawwassen Fee Simple Interest (TFSIs), he explained, where private land owners can enter into long term lease agreements with non-TFN members for up to 99 years.
He closed by saying TFN is looking for partnership opportunities that work for both sides.
“We are aggressive, we’re creative, we’re thinking outside the box on a regular basis, and we are looking for people to come invest in our community, and as I say, build the best little seaside community in Canada and be very, very proud for TFN and its ancestors.”