Loud noises in the ocean can affect underwater animals like whales. The Quiet Vessel Initiative is a Transport Canada program that will help to understand underwater sounds and make noise from boats quieter.
Malahat Nation bought two underwater microphones (called hydrophones) last year. The hydrophones can listen to whales and boat noise in Malahat territory. These devices are important for studying the impacts of noise under the sea. The Malahat Environment team was trained how to use the hydrophones by sampling local boat noise. With help from marine science experts, Malahat is choosing 20 different places to record underwater noise in Malahat territory.
A final report for the program will decide on the best location to build an underwater hydrophone station in the Malahat territory. Malahat Nation recently applied for funding to build this permanent underwater hydrophone station. It will help to understand the relationship between whales (such as orca) and boat traffic in the area.
Proper engagement is the first priority of the new economic development team. We will plan an Open House as soon as it is safe to do so with the current pandemic. At that time, we will prepare visuals and detailed project information for all members to review, and provide a space for members to provide input into future plans. In the meantime, we will update members often online, through newsletter updates, and through ongoing meetings with the Community Advisory Committee as health advisories permit.
Economic Development Strategy
People are very interested in doing business with Malahat. This puts the community in a strong position because you’re able to select only those partners that align with your vision and values. The biggest priority today is development of the Malahat Business Innovation Park. Although many other opportunities arise each month, the focus in 2022 will be to plan and complete the park, and determine the likelihood of success for future projects, such as the Malahat Film Studio, for example.
Malahat Business Innovation Park
We have secured our first anchor tenant for the business park, Alexzi Building Solutions, alexzi.com. Alexzi is the Vancouver Island-based manufacturer of NEXII sustainable building panels, and is expected to be a major player in the construction materials sector in response to Vancouver Island’s exponential growth. Alexzi is planning to develop a large-scale manufacturing facility including offices and a showroom, and will offer dozens of high-paying “white glove” manufacturing jobs and business administration jobs to Malahat members interested in getting into the industry. NEXII panels are currently being used for the development of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Nanaimo, a project led by Petroglyph Development, the economic development arm of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
Three additional tenants are currently in negotiations for space at the business park, and we will share news once contracts are finalized. The business park will be a beautiful mix of green space and offices/warehouses, with some retail and food services to support the community. The vision is to create a balanced work community that highlights the beauty and culture of Malahat, while providing a diverse mix of new education and job/career opportunities to members.
We expect the break ground on the construction of the first development as soon as spring 2022, and are currently seeking Malahat artists interested in taking part in the design/décor of the project.
Malahat Film Studios
We have completed internal feasibility and will soon complete an independent, in-depth study to confirm the strategy for this potential project.
Malahat has secured Nico Dekker as a formal partner on the project. Nico has been a successful developer of world-renowned film studios in the past, and has a particular interest in pursuing business which also supports Indigenous Reconciliation.
We look forward to connecting more with members to discuss this exciting project. We expect to have more clarity on this by summer 2022.
Yos Economic Development, the business management arm of the Malahat Nation, is excited to announce it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Alexzi Building Solutions, a Vancouver Island-based manufacturer of sustainable building materials, modernizing the construction industry. Alexzi will serve as the anchor tenant of the Malahat Business Innovation Park, a 55-acre development which will be home to some of the most innovative businesses across Canada.
Yos and Alexzi are working closely together to develop comprehensive goals for their partnership that directly benefit members of the Malahat Nation, and we look forward to a long, successful partnership.