CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – For many years, the Tlowitsis First Nation has been without a permanent home.

Now, that’s going to change. The band purchased a 635-acre rural, forested property located about eight kilometres south of Campbell River.

Plans are in the works to use the $3.5 million property to build a community of up to 100 homes, according to Tlowitsis councillor Thomas Smith.

“Right now, we have our engineering firm looking at some of the infrastructure and where to place it, and the costs associated with engineering for water and sewer, things like that,” he said.

Smith noted that the hope is to have development begin by 2020, with crews putting up homes for future residents.

He explained that the band’s original village site was shut down during the 1960s.

“Most of our members are spread out on Vancouver Island, and the Greater Vancouver area, and some are across the rest of Canada,” he said.

“A lot of our people had to move away for jobs and things. During the time, there weren’t enough children in the village to keep the school open, so a lot of the families had to move to places where their kids could attend school. So, the village was pretty much left for older people that stayed there and didn’t have children.”

Smith said having this land should help “bring members together”.

“There hasn’t been one spot to sort of learn about their culture, history and where they come from,” he said.

“We have some members in Vancouver that want to come home because they can’t afford to live there, so that’s gonna be an advantage for them to be able to come home and have a (more affordable) place to live.”

Smith added that the new property is going to be called Nenagwas.

“It means a place to come home to.”

Further details about the First Nation can be found at tlowitsisnation.ca.