Muir Creek

CLIENT: T’Sou-ke First Nation
DATE: 2020 – 2023

Project Overview

Working closely with the SNEKE Guardian team, the TFN Marine Advisor, along with Chief Planes and traditional use experts from the community and the University of Victoria, SHIFT completed a planning exercise for a property that the nation was interested in acquiring to use as a field station for marine research. The lands around Muir Creek have traditionally been known to the T-Sou-ke people as Chee-a-nun. Since colonization, the parcel of interest has been subject to over 150 years of intense logging operations. The site was severely modified in the first half of the 20th century to expand its use as a logging boom, with ancestral remains and archaeological evidence of dwelling. The mouth of Muir Creek is of deep historial signifiance to the T’Souke people, and to the history of colonnialism in BC—it forms the apex of a triangle which extends over Vancouver Island and parts of the BC Coast, allocating resource extraction lands for the purpose of the constructing the E&N railway. The project to re-establish a T’Sou-ke presence on Chee-a-nun—a historical village site dispossessed by collaboration between the E&N Railways and the colonial government ca. 1880—was put into motion on a sunny day in T’Sou-ke territory in October 2020. Hereditary and elected Chief Gordon Planes, along with staff from Shift Environmental and the Marine Team (a TN economic and environmental initiative) were driving through T’Sou-ke territory, exploring potential sites from which marine research teams could operate. The attributes of the site at Muir Creek, including the protected area for a small boat launch and proximity to marine research environments, as well as its striking beauty captured the imaginations of the team. SHIFT completed a detailed historical analysis of the site—which included documenting every time the parcel has changed hands from the time of its granding in the 1880s until the present day, integrating multiple sources of traditional and contemporary knowledge, completing Phase 1 ESA, and developing a comprehensive land use and site plan to inform further development planning.


  • Completed Environmental Assessment Phase 1, Phase 2 Scoping
  • Secured $150K in funding
  • Established a land-use masterplan and zoning requirements
  • Publicized historical and cultural use of the site via archives and accounts
  • Costed out rezoning and infrastructure costing (Class D estimates)
  • Negotiated interim access agreement terms

At every stage, the planning process and the information included in this project were examined to protect the interests of the T’Sou-ke Nation, namely, their desire to repatriate the Chee-a-nun lands, diversify the T’Sou-ke Nation economy, and be a regional and national leader in oceans protection, research, and conservation.

– Kurt Salchert, Marine Advisor to the T’Sou-ke Marine Team

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