What is the JESKEN Development?
The JESKEN Development is a land development project that will comprise 62 acres of commercial and residential developments. The project will create construction jobs and approximately 600 operational jobs. In addition approximately $93 million in cash flow to the Tsawout economy over a 20 year build out-out. This is all conditional upon government funding for the overpass (Tsawout Crossing).
Why do we need an overpass?
Firstly, in order to develop a retail or residential development on the JESKEN site we require access both north and south on the Pat Bay highway. The Ministry of Transportation will not allow a light to be installed at the JESKEN site and Tsawout does not want the traffic flowing through the community, so an overpass is required. Secondly, the overpass and other improved access to the Pat Bay highway gives Tsawout secondary access to and from the Reserve lands (currently the only in/out access is Mt. Newton Road). If anything happened to the current access then we would have an alternate route in and out.
What is currently happening with the JESKEN Development negotiations?
Tsawout is negotiating with Aquilini Development and Construction Inc. (Aquilini) to develop the 62 acre JESKEN site. Tsawout and Aquilini have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to negotiate with a 50/50 Joint Venture for the JESKEN Development. As well, Tsawout is working on obtaining Federal and Provincial funding for the overpass at the JESKEN site. Obtaining funding commitments from the governments is taking a great deal of effort and time.
Why was Aquilini selected to negotiate with?
Aquilini was selected as the first choice by Tsawout Chief & Council from three proponents that submitted proposals for the 62 acre JESKEN site. Aquilini has proposed a “mixed use” development with both retail commercial and residential development. Aquilini is currently developing with Tsawwassen and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations as well as being engaged with numerous other First Nations for developments. Moreover they have the financial strength to develop the project.
Why is the JESKEN development taking so long to begin construction?
The reason why the project is taking this length of time to date is that the overpass costs were too onerous for the original developer (PDG) and the Tsawout to bear. The overpass is estimated to cost $24 to $29 million - and this cost is too much for the development or the Tsawout Nation to bear. This is why funding from the Federal and Provincial governments is imperative, as funding will make the Development more profitable for Tsawout.