The view from Shearwater lodge on Denny Island. (Shearwater Marine Ltd. photo)

The view from Shearwater lodge on Denny Island. (Shearwater Marine Ltd. photo)

Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

Heiltsuk Nation is moving ahead with plans to purchase Shearwater Marine Ltd. near Bella Bella on the Central Coast of B.C.

The nation announced Thursday, May 13, it has signed a letter of intent to use some of the funds for the purchase from a reconciliation agreement it signed with the federal government.

Shearwater Co. has been a regional service and supply centre and thriving tourism destination, operating accommodations, a large restaurant and bar, coastal wilderness tours and a famous sport fishing business.

Read more: Feds and Heilstuk First Nation sign $37M reconciliation agreement

“The Heiltsuk Nation is excited to build on the legacy of Shearwater and to welcome guests into our territory in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, when it is safe to do so,” said Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation. “We have always valued the relationship between the Widsten family and our Nation, which has been one of respect and reciprocity.”

Craig Widsten, founder and chairman of Shearwater Marine Group, said the historic agreement is the culmination of a respectful relationship his father established with the Heiltsuk Nation in 1947,

“I personally thank the Heiltsuk Nation for their friendship, mutual respect and cooperation throughout my 53 years at the helm of the Shearwater Marine Group, and I believe this is the right decision at the right time. I am very proud of the service business and legacy that our family has established on the Central Coast and trust that the Heiltsuk Nation will lead the way with confidence and respect for the needs of all stakeholders.”

It is anticipated the purchase will go through by June 20, 2021 following due diligence and an inventory review.

“This agreement is an example of the Haíɫzaqv-made version of how to do reconciliation,” said Hemas Harvey Humchitt Sr., a Hereditary Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation. “It shows the hard work of our community and joint leadership is paying off, with the acquisition of lands and new businesses, and the creation of economic opportunities for our members.”

On its website, Shearwater Marine Ltd. notes it is located at the site of a former Second World War RCAF base that housed more than 1,000 men and aircraft that patrolled the coast. Andrew Widsten purchased a large portion of the property in 1947.

Andrew was the marine superintendent at Ocean Falls for 20 years, working for Pacific Mills and later Crown Zellerbach.

A former RCAF officer, Andrew knew the importance of setting up a marine service business at the location and for the next 20 years developed the business.

In 1967 Andrew and his wife Jean retired and the Shearwater assets were purchased by their son Craig Widsten, who over the next 50 years guided and nurtured the growth of the family business and surrounding community.

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. Situated on Denny Island about 450 km north of Vancouver, 3.5km east of Bella Bella and 100 km west of Bella Coola.

The Widstens were a Norwegian family that first settled in Bella Coola in 1894.

Read more: Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years on B.C. central coast

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

Just Posted

A Category 3 fire ban will go into effect across the entire Cariboo Fire Centre beginning noon on Monday, June 21. (Pixaby photo)
Category 3 fire ban extends across entire Cariboo Fire Centre June 21

Campfires are still permitted, but no larger than half a metre high by half a metre wide

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read