The sun sets over the Tofino mudflats as Meares Island looms in the background, on April 14, 2020. (Melissa Renwick photo)
Ahousaht First Nation has received over half a million dollars in funding through the Canada Infrastructure Program to replace their derelict dock on Meares Island.
It is one of 22 infrastructure projects that received joint funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The investment in infrastructure within the Vancouver Island region is designed to strengthen communities and to create job opportunities.
Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) owns 160 acres on Meares Island, which used to be the site of the Christie Indian Residential School. Over the next couple of years, they will be developing the property. No details about the multi-million dollar development have been released, but it will involve cultural tourism and hospitality, said John Caton, MHSS general manager.
The old Ahousaht village site called Matsquiaht, where the Lone Cone Hostel and Campground now stands, sustained the nation for thousands of years.
Alongside Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht First Nation declared the island as Canada’s first Tribal Park in 1984. The designation was aimed to stop logging plans of its old-growth red cedar forests, which sparked the designation of First Nations’ protected areas throughout the province.
To gain access to the new development, the funding will support the installation of a new wharf, dock and breakwater, just around the corner from Shindler Point on the west side of Meares Island. The project is currently on hold due to COVID-19 and will not begin until the pandemic has passed, said Caton.