A new sustainable seaside village is being developed in East Sooke
Spirit Bay, which will be a 100 acre village located at Beecher Bay, is a partnership between the Sc'ianew First Nation and the Trust for Sustainable Development, also known as the Trust.
The final project will see 500 detached homes, geared towards young families and the newly retired, as well as a town centre with a gas station, grocery story, medical clinic, and other businesses.
The $500-million project is being developed by Farmer Construction Ltd., which the Trust has worked with before when building Shoal Point, Harbourside Residential Towers, and the Coast Hotel in Victoria.
Kris Obrigewitsch, the developer of Spirit Bay and Director of the Trust, says they are building a sustainable community. "Things like our district energy system, every home has a heat pump, they're all tied into the district energy loop. We know such a large majority of energy needs are home drawn for heating and cooling, are best served by using a renewable energy source like an ocean thermal energy. So that's really our biggest benefit out at Spirit Bay."
He adds they are also a dark sky community. "We don't put up light standards. Some of the things we love about Spirit Bay is the humpbacks come by as do the orcas, so we don't put out light pollution that would scare away the wildlife. So we keep ourselves registered as a dark sky community."
Obrigewitsch also says because they are partnered with First Nations and building on their land, they are exempt from certain taxes. "Part of the Speculation Tax that's being proposed, it's not including First Nations land. Because we're a Band Owned Entity, located on Beecher Bay First Nation, it exempts us from that speculation tax that's being proposed, as well as the foreign buyers tax, and as a Band Owned Entity, we are GST exempt on sales that we're making."
He adds that as a sustainable developer, it's essential to work with the Sc'ianew, and ensure the First Nation owns a majority so that the impact of the development will help them grow and build over the next several generations.
The plan for the project calls for a finished village in 7 to 8 years. The First Nation also has the option to continue to expand the village beyond that timeline by opening up additional parcels of land.