Under First Nations Leadership, Businesses at the End of the Road Thrive

·3 min read

In 2000, Tla’amin Nation and City of Powell River mayor Dave Formosa entered into a partnership to purchase about 4.1 acres of land in Lund. This area includes three harbours, two parking lots, a hotel and restaurant, general store, and a fuel dock. In 2016, just after treaty was signed, Tla’amin’s government bought out Formosa, and now owns all of the 4.1 acres.

Currently the operating manager, Eric Hargrave, is in charge of what happens within the 4.1 acres. He explains that since the purchase, Tla’amin has moved the general store, The StockPile Market, to a renovated building behind the hotel. The new store’s opening had gone very well. However, Tla’amin is still looking for a general manager to run it.

“The most successful thing right now I’d say would be the store, because the hotel isn’t open. During the heatwave it got quite a bit busier because the store has air conditioning. It was very busy at the beginning of COVID too, because the people living on Savary Island would come over to shop,” says Eric.

Savary Island has also recently gained a general store. Eric says that due to that, this year the Lund store has seen lower sales, but it is still overall doing very well.

The Lund Hotel had closed in March of 2020 because of COVID. It is unable to reopen because there is not enough staff to operate it. The hotel has undergone renovations, with Indigenous designs featured throughout the hotel, creating a stunning, cultural environment - one that is super welcoming for travellers stopping by.

“I think that the hotel could be opened next year, I think that staffing should get better by then,” says Eric

Underneath the hotel is the Lund Restaurant, which has recently reopened, after being closed from COVID too.

“It took about a month to get things going smoothly again. It was always really busy one day and then super quiet the next. There isn’t enough staff either, which did not help on those busy days. We are in a better spot with the restaurant now, which is good,” Eric says.

The lands Tla’amin owns in Lund has three different docks: a long-term, short-term, and a fuel dock. These are located behind, and beside the hotel and general store. There is also a smaller kayak and canoe launch, and a mini-beach where locals often go to swim. When the heat dome hit, Lund saw many locals and tourists escape the heat by breezing across the sea in boats, meaning the harbours were much busier.

“The infrastructure for the docks is getting pretty old. Space is also getting pretty tight. There are plans to extend the short-term and long-term docks. There are also plans to redo the fuel dock and upgrade the fuel pumps,” says Eric.

The Lund area is very popular with tourists. It is the end of the coastal highway, as well as being the gateway to Savary Island, Desolation Sound, Klahoose First Nation, and much more.

“This year I have noticed a lot more Canadian travellers,” says Eric. “This is partly due to the American harbours being currently closed, but also because there are significantly more people travelling into coastal regions from the interior of Canada due to the wildfires. Which I mean, seeing more Canadian folks isn’t the worst thing in the world.

“I believe that what draws people to this area is the beauty. Lund is a beautiful place. And a great stopping point for anyone on their travels.”

Abby Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, qathet Living

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