A Globe and Mail article has confirmed that the 445 acre property in Nascall Bay was purchased by billionaire media mogul James Murdoch for $1.3 million in 2013. The Murdoch’s have remained intensely private about the purchase, which is located in the Dean Channel about an hour from Bella Coola by boat.
Murdoch, a 44 year-old American businessman, is the younger son of multibillionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox.
Locals have long known the property was purchased by the Murdoch’s but those working on the property have been sworn to secrecy. Rumours of an apocalyptic style bunker have circulated for years, but a source close to the Murdoch’s declined this is the case.
The New York-based source “familiar with the deal,” who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Globe and Mail’s Kerry Gold, shot down a British media report in the UK’s Daily Mail that suggested the Murdochs were looking to build an “end of times” self-sufficient compound in British Columbia to escape the “Trumpocalypse” as they prepared to take over the $62 billion empire from their father, Rupert.
This kind of story has many speculating that other multibillionaires purchasing property and homes in far-flung New Zealand are also looking to “escape” the new Trump-era politics.
Tech titan Peter Thiel, one of Trump’s strongest supporters, quietly obtained New Zealand citizenship in 2011 and owns several properties in the South Pacific nation.
Other rich-listers who have either moved to New Zealand or bought land include Hollywood director James Cameron, Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov and US financial services guru William Foley.
One of China’s wealthiest executives, Jack Ma, said last year that at least 20 former colleagues from his Alibaba empire had retired to New Zealand and he was considering purchasing a property himself.
However, the source told Gold that the Murdoch purchase was motivated by a simple love of the landscape.
“They love the area, they are passionate about the area, and they think it’s beautiful,” he said. “There is no grid, there are no roads. It’s a remote piece of property, which is why it has its own water. He has no current plans to move there. It’s a recreational property for them.”
The property boasts a cedar six-plex with 6 double rooms, with bathrooms and common room, two room private cedar (owner’s) cabin overlooking the water, two cedar one bedroom fully self-contained cottages, a 1300 ft gravel landing strip, three kilometres of road that leads to boat launch at Nascall Lake, a floating restaurant that seats 25, a 100 ft. cedar dock that can accommodate large boats and floatplanes, a 12 seat aluminum crew boat, a grader for road maintenance and a gator for getting around.
Power is provided by a generator and the moorage is adequate for cruise ships with a depth of 100 feet right along the shoreline. The property also provides the opportunity to generate a 70 mega watt hydro electric power generation project, which many Valley residents will undoubtedly remember as the failed Nascall Power Project proposed in 2008.
The project was intended to get both Bella Coola and Anahim Lake off diesel reliance and to connect and provide power to the main grid, but it fell through for a multitude of reasons. Since then, the creation of a Conservancy zone in the area has altered the parameters for such a project as was proposed in 2008, and the Murdoch’s have given no indication this is something they wish to pursue.