Stz’uminus opens new hotel in Oyster Bay
A new hotel is now open at Stz’uminus First Nation as the community continues to expand its development alongside the Trans-Canada Highway.
The growing Oyster Bay project has been operating for about a year and half now with offices, a gas station and a Tim Hortons.
An 81-room hotel opened in mid-May, with Stz’uminus holding 83 per cent interest in the project in partnership with MasterBUILT Hotels.
The hotel is part of the Microtel Inn & Suites chain, but has uniquely Stz’uminus touches such as the community’s logo embroidered on bedding, a map of the territory and Coast Salish artwork adorning common areas.
Ray Gauthier, CEO of the nation-owned Coast Salish Development Corporation, said the community is already seeing a profit from Oyster Bay, and it’s just the beginning for the property.
He said there are tentative plans for a development beside the hotel to house a market set up including a liquor store, bakery, coffee shop, fishmonger and other amenities.
“In the summer we would have outdoor markets where people could come and buy organic vegetables, lettuce, picked fruit,” he said. “It could provide a good opportunity for people again to come by off the highway, pick up whatever they might need, and get on with it.”
Gauthier said the community is also looking at developing restaurants.
“Because of the highway, in this 5.5 acres, we’re going to have like 75,000 to 100,000 square feet of commercial retail and the hotel,” he said. “But we’re not jamming it in. We’re still trying to do things responsibly and not trying to overcrowd.”
Stz’uminus has set aside a total of 65 acres aside for development in Oyster Bay, which Gauthier said will create up to 300 jobs in total and other benefits back to the community.
Stz’uminus has been expanding its empire since the community voted ‘yes’ to First Nation Land Management in December of 2013, meaning the nation opted out of part of the Indian Act to reassume control over its own lands.