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 Secret Beach destination. (Photo - www.secretbeachcampground.com)

Toquaht First Nation building $1.35 million dollar marina

TOQUAHT FIRST NATION BC-A B.C. First Nation is building a $1.35 million, 40-slip marina at “Secret Beach,” an access point for paddlers heading to the Broken Group Islands within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

A major funding announcement was made on Thursday (March 8, 2018).

The Toquaht First Nation made the major funding announcement Thursday, March 5 2018. The marina will include a new boat launching ramp, road, parking and breakwater.   The site will eventually have capacity for 80 vessels, a common building, cafe, gift shop, meeting rooms rental cabins, kayak comfort station and other amenities, the announcement said.

“It has always been in our plans to expand and share our beautiful country with recreational tourists,” Toquaht First Nation Chief Anne Mack told the Westerly News. “We’re building out to really make it a comfortable and good area for people to come and relax and see the beauty.”

She said they want to keep the area pristine.

“We built, in our new campsite, a specific area so that they can drive right down to this beautiful little tiny beach and unpack their stuff and then we’ve got a parking area specifically for them,” she said. “It’s really nice and people love it.”

She said their  economic development mission is to create businesses that respect the history, culture, and traditions of the Toquaht Nation,  that this project reflects.

The Toquaht First Nations received a $400,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust .

“The Toquaht Nation has been proactive and innovative in building new economic opportunities, and when environmental concerns forced a change in their plans to redevelop the Toquaht Bay campground and marina, the Nation identified a new opportunity at Secret Beach,” said the Trust’s Chair Phil Kent through a March 8 media release. “This project will attract visiting boaters to the islands and coastline of this rugged area creating new opportunities for eco-tourism, cultural tourism and hospitality business development.”

The new marina is expected to be completed by October.

Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, NDP, who also serves as B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, congratulated both the Nation and the Trust for their successful collaboration.

“This investment will drive new economic opportunities and create jobs for the Toquaht community, to the benefit of the entire region,” Fraser said.

“My father – Chief Bert Mack – spent decades fishing in Barkley Sound, and I know he would be proud to see this new marina at Secret Beach,” said the Toquaht Nation’s Chief Anne Mack. “Our economic development mission is to create businesses that respect the history, culture, and traditions of the Toquaht Nation, and this project embodies that mission exactly.”

The Broken Group is a prime destination, particularly for the growing kayak tourism market. The islands, which number more than 100 uninhabited islands, is often described as ‘dream destination’ for paddlers. The routes are part of the new BC Marine Trails network – another project which has benefited from ICET investment.

The project is expected to create approximately 3.0 person-years of new construction phase jobs as well as 15 permanent local jobs within a 3-5 year term.

About the Island Coastal Economic Trust

Created and capitalized by the Province of BC, the Island Coastal Economic Trust has been at the forefront of economic diversification, planning and regional revitalization for the past eleven years.

ICET is independently governed by a Board of Directors and two Regional Advisory Committees which include more than 50 locally elected officials, MLAs and appointees from the Island and Coast. This exceptional team of leaders collaborate to set regional priorities and build vital multi-regional networks.

Through a community centered decision-making process, ICET has approved almost $50 million in funding for over 180 economic infrastructure and economic development readiness projects.  These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2500 construction phase jobs and 2600 long term permanent jobs.

A full overview of ICET can be found at www.islandcoastaltrust.ca.

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