Finding a graceful solution
Grace Islet is small — less than an acre in size — but it has a big history.
For many centuries the islet was used by various Coast Salish nations as a burial site, until it passed into private ownership in 1913. It remained undeveloped until 2014, when the then-landowner began to build a home on the islet despite the presence of at least 16 burial cairns.
In response to the significant concern over residential development on Grace Islet, which was voiced by local Coast Salish leaders as well as the broader public, the Province of British Columbia partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to negotiate a settlement with the landowner. Negotiations were successful and led to NCC assuming the care and management of Grace Islet in February 2015, in collaboration with nine Coast Salish groups who have historically used Grace Islet.
In addition to its cultural value, Grace Islet contains important Garry oak habitat, including 200-year-old juniper trees, the rare yellow variety of chocolate lily and Douglas-fir. The islet’s marine environment supports herring and other marine life, and its intertidal zone contains sea grass meadows that are particularly valuable spawning habitat and are in decline region-wide.