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Construction underway on subdivision south of Nanaimo Airport

Long-term build-out at Oyster Bay planned to eventually amount to 600 homes
The development behind the fence at Oyster Bay is taking shape. A project of the Coast Salish Development Corporation, the economic arm of Stz’uminus First Nation, the first phase of a 600-property development has already seen construction start. Phase 1 of Owls Hollow consists of 35 residential lots. (Duck Paterson photo)


What’s going on behind the fence at Oyster Bay? It’s the beginning of a phased residential community that will, over time, be the home of 600 residential units. The first phase consisting of 35 fully serviced building lots is already seeing the signs of success. The planned community has one single-family home under construction and 10 of the lots have been sold to date.

Owls Hollow, as the new subdivision is called, has been in the works for some time by the Coast Salish Development Corporation, which is the economic development branch of the Stz’uminus First Nation.

“The Hollows is going to be a hallmark development, and one of its core principles is keeping nature in the development,” said Ray Gauthier, the CEO of the development corporation. “Many of the trees are being kept and there are bike paths, parks and nature trails.”

The lots on Stz’uminus reserve land are being offered by the corporation with prices starting at $275,000. Purchasers need to apply for building permits from the Stz’uminus community and they need to meet with the planning department and obtain a development permit.

“It’s very similar to what most municipalities do, but instead of having a normal building inspector sign off on the home, we have a qualified engineering company sign and stamp the final approval,” Gauthier said. “That takes it one step better and the engineers will handle all the inspections.”

The residential development has a corporate structure and working with CSDC are three other partners, all local and all with backgrounds in development and community relations. Two of the partners, Elmworth Construction Ltd. and Greca Developments Ltd., are already building in the subdivision.

Bruce Muir from Elmworth Construction commented that he and Greg Adams are very pleased to be working with the Stz’uminus First Nation on such an “exciting” development.

“I am confident that Owls Hollow will develop into a vibrant, livable community that residents will be proud to call home,” he said.

Gauthier said the next phase is already done “on paper,” and once five or six more lots are spoken for, ground breaking will happen on that phase.

It’s anticipated that 30 to 40 units will be done each year, and as the subdivision grows, it will expand to the north toward the airport. The build-out will include some duplex homes and three- and four-storey condo buildings, some with commercial space. An assisted-living complex is still in the plans, as it has been from the start.

“It’s all planned as being accessible, walkable and welcoming neighbourhood-style living,” Gauthier said.

READ ALSO: Central Island witnessing the birth of Oyster Bay

The Stz’uminus community is planning on adding another commercial building to its central core, similar to the two structures that exist at present. The new building will be constructed between the Microtel Hotel and the liquor store building.

“We’re hoping on getting a small restaurant operation on site. The centre was a little tough to get started, but in the last 18 months, the interest has quadrupled,” said Gauthier.

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