City provides grant to Snuneymuxw First Nation to assist Saysutshun ferry


Nanaimo’s City Council has approved and awarded Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) with grant funding to support SFN’s planning and management of Saysutshun (Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park). Council has authorized a grant in the amount of $150,000 for the 2019 and 2020 operating years to support and enhance the Saysutshun Ferry Service.

Saysutshun is historically significant to Nanaimo and is a village site of the Snuneymuxw People. Access to the island is key in educating visitors about Saysutshun's shared history. Promotion of the historical, cultural, recreational and natural value Saysutshun has to offer helps to advance the island as a recreation and tourism destination. The partnership between Nanaimo City Council and SFN ensures affordable and continued access to the island for everyone, and is another step towards reconciliation.

Link to Strategic Plan: Economic health is a key pillar in Council's 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.

Key Points

  • The City of Nanaimo has awarded Snuneymuxw First Nation with $50,000 towards the operation of the Saysutshun Island ferry service for 2019 and $100,000 for 2020.
  • 2020 operation of the Saysutshun ferry service is set to begin on March 6, and will enter into full peak season operation on May 29.


"When a park is isolated by water but as beautiful and alluring as Saysutshun is, you need a reliable way to get there. The City of Nanaimo is proud to support our Snuneymuxw neighbours and to ensure ferry access to Saysutshun for everyone."

City of Nanaimo

"Saysutshun is a sacred village site of our Nation that carries rich culture and spirituality of our Snuneymuxw people. Through the restoration of our partnership with the City to enhance our ferry service, in addition to our continued partnership with Tourism Nanaimo and others, this advances reconciliation and contributes to unlocking the potential of the island. I am keen to work with Nanaimo ensuring our ability to educate the public on our shared history."

Snuneymuxw First Nation

Quick Facts

  • Saysutshun, also known as Newcastle Island, is a sacred village site of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Managed and operated by SFN, it has a history of being a place of physical and spiritual healing for Snuneymuxw people.
  • Saysutshun is a protected marine park and an appealing destination for both tourism and events. The island also carries with it history about the coal mining days and the white raccoon. Saysutshun is considered one of Nanaimo’s premier outdoor, recreational, cultural and historical attractions.
  • In the traditional Hul'q'umi'num language of the Snuneymuxw people, Saysutshun means 'training for running' and refers to the special places where runners, canoe paddlers or warriors would bathe to cleanse themselves before a race or battle.
  • Snuneymuxw First Nation owns and operates the Saysutshun Ferry Service, a foot ferry that transports visitors to the Island on a seven (7) minute boat ride.


Dale Lindsay
General Manager of Development Services
City of Nanaimo

Print News Release

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