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Old 05-14-2021, 08:22 AM   #1
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First Nations buying Shearwater Marina in BC

Just saw this on a BC fishing forum.
Heiltsuk Nation Signs Letter of Intent to Purchase Shearwater Resort & Marina from Widsten Holdings Inc. – Heiltsuk Nation
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:57 AM   #2
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Thanks, Russ. Hopefully it will be business as usual, Shearwater being such an important stopover for many of us. Many native people work at the marina already.
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Old 05-14-2021, 11:58 AM   #3
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Yes, it is an important stop on the Central BC coast. I also hope that it continues to be well run and open for business.
I am sad about some of the closures and changes that are/have happened in the Broughtons. I worry about the future for the surviving marinas there.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:03 PM   #4
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An interesting situation and I hope they are able to pull it off. I live in Bella and have worked for SW and the natives for more than 10 years, I'm pretty close to what's going on and expect that I will be tapped for some role if/when it happens. There's an awful lot still to work out but I think the probability is pretty good that it will work out. It is time, past time, for Craig to be getting out of it, his kids aren't interested and there doesn't seem to be any competitive buyers lurking around. The native community has been a big consumer of SW's services and employment opportunities, although in general the opportunities have been cheap and the services expensive. There is an economic gain to be had in that, and new opportunities beyond the current. But SW is a complex, diverse operation, a big bite for folks who are just getting a handle on enterprise and the resources to develop it. The timing of it probably couldn't be better, with everything slowed down and in a gradual restart mode. If the deal goes through, SW will definitely stay open for business, hopefully ultimately better run and with a better core philosophy. But there will be many people involved, with a lot of different ideas and priorities, politics will ensue. Investment funding is coming out of the ether so to speak, not an individual's accumulated wealth which he is immediately concerned with preserving. But what I can say is it's a serious proposition and fairly likely to happen.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:23 PM   #5
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I don’t understand the following comment, so rather than tell you what I think you said, I’ll just ask you to clarify it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EngNate
But SW is a complex, diverse operation, a big bite for folks who are just getting a handle on enterprise and the resources to develop it.
And with this, is it your belief, being close to it, Shearwater was not well run?
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Originally Posted by EngNate
If the deal goes through, SW will definitely stay open for business, hopefully ultimately better run and with a better core philosophy.
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Old 05-14-2021, 05:27 PM   #6
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Ahhh, are you trolling? Sure looks like a flasher to me. I didn't put forth judgments about how it's run or its philosophy - not that I don't have some assessment but it would be off-topic. What I told a couple people on this side who are close to the center and have ideas of changing things up: Hold on, it does run, don't change any thing until you really understand how it is working now.

First comment, taking over SW operations is no small deal, what's not clear about that? The Heiltsuk aren't just going to jump in handily with a couple MBAs and make it all work without experience. It's not buying an apartment complex or a laundromat, there are more than a dozen different operations going on over there.

I don't want to see this go off into a rant/rave about Shearwater. It's about the future of the destination for boaters and others and the economic future of the Heiltsuk and area community.
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:46 PM   #7
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Is it tribal land?
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:59 PM   #8
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Is it tribal land?
No easy answer to that. Most First Nations in BC have never signed land claim agreements or treaties, therefore, have never relinquished their traditional governance of the lands and its resources, or officially adopted those of The Crown.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:00 PM   #9
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Regardless who is buying, are they buying an asset which by virtue of Covid restrictions is "distressed", at a lower price than without Covid present?
Query it`s a speculative "punt", value positive if Covid gets easily resolved, negative if not.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:03 PM   #10
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Is it tribal land?
The cheeky answer is, all but a few acres of BC, is tribal land.

As MurrayM said, it's still in progress.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britis...r%20the%20BCTP.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:14 PM   #11
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Regardless who is buying, are they buying an asset which by virtue of Covid restrictions is "distressed", at a lower price than without Covid present?
Query it`s a speculative "punt", value positive if Covid gets easily resolved, negative if not.
It's not that simple or even a Covid issue. The current owners are/were not up against the wall and First Nations are making sound business moves on the coast. This purchase was probably in the works, pre-Covid.

First Nations are thinking long term.
Here's another:
https://www.indigenousbc.com/corpora...olation-sound/

Manhattan Island could be next.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:17 PM   #12
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The Shearwater property is, legally speaking, 35 acres of private land. I have heard the price and it doesn't sound like fire sale to me, but it is less than what I've heard in the past as what Craig thought is was worth. Covid will get resolved, and I think the trend toward the wilderness that it's spurred will have inertia and continue.
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Old 05-15-2021, 09:52 AM   #13
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First Nations buying Shearwater Marina in BC

Quote:
Originally Posted by soin2la View Post
And with this, is it your belief, being close to it, Shearwater was not well run?

We stayed at the docks once and but never again. The issue was over water. They lured us there saying we could fill out tanks and it wasn’t rationed. When it came time to leave there was one water hose and I could pee faster than the flow. We waited 2 hours for the opportunity to get water. And after an hour trying to fill 350 gallons they sent us away, partially filled. This was the one and only time I wished I had a water maker. We still will get food and go to the pub there, but we won’t stay at the docks.

Fortunately the best water on the coast is at Ocean Falls. And moorage is a third of the price.

Jim
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:07 AM   #14
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Jim, does Ocean Falls have a haulout, either a Travel Lift or ways?
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by EngNate View Post
Ahhh, are you trolling? Sure looks like a flasher to me. I didn't put forth judgments about how it's run or its philosophy - not that I don't have some assessment but it would be off-topic. What I told a couple people on this side who are close to the center and have ideas of changing things up: Hold on, it does run, don't change any thing until you really understand how it is working now.

First comment, taking over SW operations is no small deal, what's not clear about that? The Heiltsuk aren't just going to jump in handily with a couple MBAs and make it all work without experience. It's not buying an apartment complex or a laundromat, there are more than a dozen different operations going on over there.

I don't want to see this go off into a rant/rave about Shearwater. It's about the future of the destination for boaters and others and the economic future of the Heiltsuk and area community.
Hi EngNate,

Thanks for your postings and insights into this issue. As one who lives in Bella Bella and has worked for the Shearwater operation, I value your perspective on this interesting development. And sincerely share your desire that this issue doesn't devolve into the oh-so-common forum propensity to veer off into tangential topics that often render the original posting moot and irrelevant. This topic should, truly, remain about "...the future of the destination for boaters and others and the economic future of the Heiltsuk and area community."

Postings such as "...Manhattan Island could be next." sure looks like a troll to me. Certainly tangential and irrelevant. As is the source (or lack thereof) of water on the docks, and the presence of a Travelift at Shearwater.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:18 AM   #16
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Saying taking it over will be a challenge isn't being negative toward current operation or those taking it over, just stating that taking over a significant enterprise in a business you don't have great experience in is always a challenge. You always hope as well to build on the good and to make improvements. Outside the rage of acquisitions by those like Safe Harbor, over the years the majority of marinas changing hands have been very similar to this. Family run businesses with family aging out and seeking retirement and future generations having no interest. Best of luck to the new owners. However, it's like getting into boating, you don't know the things you don't yet know nor even what is is you don't know.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken E
…does Ocean Falls have a haulout, either a Travel Lift or ways?
No. an old tide grid, that’s it and I don’t know how much I would trust it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE
We stayed at the docks once and but never again. The issue was over water. They lured us there saying we could fill out tanks and it wasn’t rationed. When it came time to leave there was one water hose and I could pee faster than the flow. We waited 2 hours for the opportunity to get water. And after an hour trying to fill 350 gallons they sent us away, partially filled. This was the one and only time I wished I had a water maker. We still will get food and go to the pub there, but we won’t stay at the docks.

Fortunately the best water on the coast is at Ocean Falls. And moorage is a third of the price.
It’s hardly a fair comparison; water availability and demand, Shearwater vs Ocean Falls. Good-will water is very much abused at Shearwater, so who can blame them for not making it easy?

First thing a new owner should do, is put in a proper water station and charge for it. $2.00 per gallon (40 cents/litre) on a diminishing scale sounds fair; about the same as bottled water in the big city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jungpeter
Postings such as "...Manhattan Island could be next." sure looks like a troll to me. Certainly tangential and irrelevant. As is the source (or lack thereof) of water on the docks, and the presence of a Travelift at Shearwater.
“Manhattan” comment was just being a point to emphasize indigenous people are acquiring business acumen and making good, measured choices. The marine landscape in BC will see many major changes coming.

After all, the topic is “First Nations buying Shearwater Marina in BC” and EngNate invited a question of clarity with the points alluded to in post 5, because, rightly or wrongly, I read aspersions.

BandB makes good points, as usual, but is it fair to infer, the First Nations buying Shearwater, “don't have great experience” or are “folks who are just getting a handle on enterprise and the resources to develop it.’

I echo BandB; best of luck to the new owners.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:46 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by soin2la View Post

BandB makes good points, as usual, but is it fair to infer, the First Nations buying Shearwater, “don't have great experience” or are “folks who are just getting a handle on enterprise and the resources to develop it.’

I echo BandB; best of luck to the new owners.
I think it's fair to state they don't have great experience in running marinas and properties such as this one and must get a handle on it and dedicate the resources needed.

Like boat buyers, they likely don't fully appreciate the amount of work ahead. Not being critical, just the way things are. They don't even know all the questions yet, much less the answers.

So, yes, I think it's fair to infer.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:56 AM   #19
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Regardless of cultural origin, it's not an aspersion to look at the experience available, the experience needed, and determine there's a gap between the two. There is a quantitative difference between twenty years' experience and one year of experience twenty times.
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Old 05-15-2021, 12:37 PM   #20
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Regardless of cultural origin, it's not an aspersion to look at the experience available, the experience needed, and determine there's a gap between the two. There is a quantitative difference between twenty years' experience and one year of experience twenty times.
Oh, I don’t disagree with either you or BandB on the elements of new ownership and it’s challenges.

But to cite “experience available, the experience needed, and determine there's a gap between the two” is judgmental.

In this case, we “don’t know what we don’t know.” All we have is a release by the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and conjecture. Available experience, who is taking over management, who is remaining and what other contractual conditions might be in place, are unknown.

Regardless of Mr. Widsten feeling “the time is right” for him, he is not going to give over his legacy to the first or highest bidder. Just read what he has to say about his 53 year relationship with the First Nations people and tell me he doesn’t have faith in their ability to continue what he and his father built. And that is me speculating, as well.
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