The City of Williams Lake and the owners of Boitanio Mall have received the blessing of the Williams Lake First Nation to move forward with a housing redevelopment provided the developer fully complies with the requirements at law under the Heritage Conservation Act. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The City of Williams Lake and the owners of Boitanio Mall have received the blessing of the Williams Lake First Nation to move forward with a housing redevelopment provided the developer fully complies with the requirements at law under the Heritage Conservation Act. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake First Nation announces support for Boitanio Mall housing development

The archaeologically-significant site was first disturbed more than four decades ago

A B.C. First Nation says it will support the responsible redevelopment of Boitanio Mall in Williams Lake where more than a dozen human skeletons were unearthed in the 1970s.

In a news release Oct. 14, the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) confirmed they have reviewed the results of a membership survey conducted this summer.

“What it revealed is that our members support the concept of additional housing in Williams Lake, but are concerned that cultural resources must be dealt with properly,” said WLFN Chief Willie Sellars.

Janda Group is seeking to redevelop the second floor of the mall into a 86-unit housing complex comprised of 15 studio units, 49 one-bedroom and 22 two-bedroom units with public areas, a sunroof and amenity spaces.

If approved by Williams Lake City Council, the more than $20 million dollar project will result in the disturbance of the remaining burial site which has been capped in asphalt.

Read More: Williams Lake Boitanio Mall owners propose 86-unit housing complex for second floor

The archaeological site containing house pits (kikwillies), cache pits and large number of human burials was first disturbed more than four decades ago to make way for the construction of Boitanio Mall by Cloverlawn Developments which was completed in 1975.

Because the development predated the modern era of heritage protection under the B.C. Heritage Conservation Act, the excavation was allowed to continue, and the human remains were deposited along with other materials at another location, noted WLFN.

“There is still a great deal of sensitivity in our membership over what occurred during the 1970s,” Sellars said.

“But as we understand it, the proposed scope of excavation for the mall redevelopment relates exclusively to the upsizing of utilities, and thus the extent of the excavation should not be that significant. Provided that the developer fully complies with the requirements at law under the Heritage Conservation Act, and the construction activities are properly monitored, we support the project moving forward.”

Janda Group is anticipated to provide Williams Lake City Council with further details on the proposed redevelopment at an Oct. 20 regular council meeting after which council will determine if to approve first reading for the project.

Sellars said WLFN not only commends Janda Group for coming forward and expressing an interest to invest in the region, but for also expressing an interest with the City of Williams Lake in ensuring the development is done properly and respectfully.

“We will continue to work with both the developer and the City of Williams Lake to ensure that occurs.”

Read More: Williams Lake Indian Band opposes development of Heritage Park overlooking Stampede Grounds

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

developmentWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

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

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read