Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie and councillor Vern Michel stand in front of the newly erected signage at the freshly minted Coyote Rock Golf Course along Highway 97.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie and councillor Vern Michel stand in front of the newly erected signage at the freshly minted Coyote Rock Golf Course along Highway 97.

Coyote Rock golf course is born

Big things are happening these days at Williams Lake Indian Band.

Big things are happening these days at Williams Lake Indian Band.

The WLIB recently announced its rebranding of Sunset Meadows Golf Course as Coyote Rock Golf Course and its intention to use the same brand for the several hundred acres of development land along Highway 97 surrounding the golf course.

“The course is a band enterprise, and we wanted a name that captured the history and tradition of the Shuswap people,” says Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie.

“After some extensive discussion with community members, we arrived at the name Coyote Rock.”

The “seklep” or coyote, Louie explains, is a significant figure in Shuswap tradition and lore.

“He was the trickster, and eventually he was transformed into stone. These ‘coyote rocks’ came to be used as markers for the Shuswap territory.”

To kick off its rebranding of the golf course and surrounding development lands, WLIB launched its new websites at www.coyoterockgolf.com and www.coyoterockdevelopments.com, erected new billboard signs along the highway corridor, and constructed a 20-foot log framed sign marking the entrance to Coyote Rock Golf Course.

“We’ve had numerous people tell us that the greens at Coyote Rock are the best they’ve seen anywhere in British Columbia,” says Coyote Rock Golf Course manager Don Stratton.

“Our new websites and marketing will help us to get people on the course to see what we have to offer. The new entrance sign is really a work of art. The logs were donated by Tolko, the log work was done by WLIB member Vern Michel, the blank was created by Hoezler Construction and the graphics were done by Speedpro Signs. It’s the effort of a number of local businesses.”

“Coyote Rock Golf Course,” Chief Louie adds, “is the centre of our plans for future development. We have some of the most desirable lands in the Cariboo, and we’re aggressively exploring options to realize the build-out of these lands.”

According to Louie, the two most significant impediments to development have been the public perception that it’s not possible or safe to do business on First Nations lands and the cost of providing services such as water and sewer to the band’s lands.

According to WLIB economic development officer Kirk Dressler, though, doing business on First Nations lands is just as safe and viable as any other jurisdiction.

“If you look throughout the province, you’ll see there’s a huge amount of development taking place on First Nations lands,” Dressler says. “Kamloops Indian Band and Westbank First Nation just outside of Kelowna are two excellent examples. We’re poised to experience the same type of development here at WLIB, and we have a potential transaction involving a very significant corporate tenant. We also have a commitment from the government of Canada that if we can come to the table with development partners they’ll provide funding to assist with the cost of installing services. We’re close to solidifying partnerships with a couple of very well known developers.”

According to land-use planning documents, build-out around Coyote Rock Golf Course could see 120 or more residential units and several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space being constructed in the lands surrounding the course.

Dressler stresses that the spin-off economic benefits to the Cariboo from such development would be huge, and WLIB is very much open for business.

Coyote Rock Golf Course is kicking off its new brand with a grand re-opening on Saturday, July 16.  The event will include a golf tournament and other festivities.

Everyone is welcome, and more information can be found on the Coyote Rock Golf Course website at www.coyoterockgolf.com.