B.C. government to transfer Nicola Valley First Nations 11 hectares of land

Land transfer complete

A collective of five First Nations in the Nicola Valley will be receiving 11 hectares of Crown land.

The province announced the land transfer this morning in a press release.

The parcel, known as the Gateway 286 lands, previously held the Merritt tourism information centre. The facility closed in January 2018.

The release says the lands will be transferred via Spayum Holdings, a consolidated development corporation owned by the Nicola Valley First Nations. The five are the Coldwater Indian Band, Lower Nicola Indian Band, Nooaitch Indian Band, Shackan Indian Band and Upper Nicola Indian Band.

"Supporting the Nicola Chiefs in this important business opportunity will benefit residents and visitors to the Nicola Valley, and is a positive example of our government's efforts to advance reconciliation with the Nicola Valley First Nations through new economic development opportunities," says Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, in the release.

"This important step strengthens our government-to-government relationship with the Nicola Valley First Nations, creates job opportunities for members within their communities and shares in the prosperity of the province," he continues.

Spayum anticipates investing $40 million and creating hundreds of permanent and temporary jobs during development of the site. The development will also reopen the landmark Merritt Gateway rest stop for travellers on the Coquihalla Highway.

The five bands have been trying to acquire the lands for more than 20 years.

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