Land Developer

The nearby subdivision at Timbercrest Estates has been in development since 1972, but in the early 1990s, developer George Schmidt began initial work on the land around Ye'yumnuts. However, the discovery of buried remains in 1992 stalled this work and lead to a lengthy discussion about the appropriate use of this place. The next 25 years saw many voices speak up about the importance of the site, and the process ended with the Government of British Columbia eventually purchasing the land in a series of land agreements between 2011 and 2014. Schmidt worked with Cowichan Tribes over these many years to resolve the conflict. See this 2009 clip from A-Channel News and associated text excerpt below for a view of his perspective:

By 2009, the seemingly endless bureaucracy and negotiation with North Cowichan municipality and Cowichan Tribes had begun to take its toll on George:

[01:30] "Very frustrating. We’ve tried to work with all the government bodies—the municipality, and the natives, and the Federal and Provincial governments, but we’re not getting anywhere, at all."

[02:25] "Really it’s not fair to developers to put them in this kind of position, where they buy the land—unbeknownst to them—you know, there was no burials—knowledge of any burials on this site when we bought it, and weren’t for almost 30 years while we owned it, until we finally—by accident—discovered it."

After this news segment was produced, and following over two decades of stalemate between George Schmidt and other groups including Cowichan Tribes, the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, and the Cowichan Naturalists, a series of agreements saw the final development parcel encompassing Ye'yumnuts purchased by the Provincial government for protection by 2014. The signage, public interpretation, and other celebration of the site discussed in the video is now underway as part of the Commemorating Ye'yumnuts project.

The ground on which Ye'yumnuts is located was slated to be part of the larger Timbercrest Estates development.

Minutes from North Cowichan Council meetings provide valuable insight into the municipal politics involved in developing the land around Ye'yumnuts.