Totem poles lined an oceanfront property in Esquimalt which officially opened on Saturday as the Salish Seaside RV Haven.
The park was a vision of former Songhees Chief Robert Sam and former Esquimalt Chief Andy Thomas, who worked with Transport Canada and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to negotiate purchase of the land from the government after the lease to West Bay Marina ended.
The former leasers also hosted an RV park, but with new ownership came renovations that included freshly paved lots designed for larger recreational vehicles, a gift shop, and a new clubhouse that has washrooms, laundry rooms, and an upstairs area fit for events.
The grand opening began with an emotional prayer presented by Esquimalt Elder Mary Ann Thomas, whose husband, Chief Andy Thomas, passed away in early April.
A ribbon cutting ceremony followed, with Songhees Chief Ron Sam and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins joining in, and traditional First Nations dancers performed.
“It’s an important step in our region, economic wise,” Sam said. “It’s a stepping stone to bigger and better things in regards to economic development here in Victoria.”
Desjardins voiced enthusiasm for what she called the “beautiful upgrades.”
“Can you imagine a better place to stay when you come to our region?” she said. “It’s a wonderful addition to the Township of Esquimalt in terms of tourism, economic development and also just relationships with our neighbours.”
It was also the first official event attended by Esquimalt Chief Edward Thomas, who inherited the seat from his father.
“I’m very excited about this park, ” he said. “But these are big footsteps to fill for our Nations and people.”
To find out more about the park you can visit https://www.salishseasidervhaven.com