Eight years ago a dilapidated old hotel was transformed into an historical community treasure through the partnership and efforts of the Sliammon First Nation and local businessman Dave Formosa. Though the project may have been considered a risky one by some, it has been very successful, and all parties involved are looking toward continued success and expansion in the years to come.
The Sliammon Development Corporation (SDC), through which Sliammon First Nation is the majority owner of the Lund Hotel.
Saw in Lund the chance to get the nation on the road to economic opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry. The place was chosen for a reason.
“The Lund Hotel has a lot of cultural and traditional significance to Sliammon. It is a village site identified in our traditional territory.”
In the beginning Sliammon Development Corporation tried several times to get Dave Formosa involved.
“At first the project didn’t interest me,” Dave says. “I thought there was too much risk… It was [the SDC’s] foresight that made it happen. Despite my hesitation, they went ahead anyway.”
Because Dave is a director at the SDC, he was given a portfolio of the hotel.
“I was out there, going through the building, and the sun came up on the hills, and it was shining on the ocean. The hotel was crying out to me, ‘fix me,’ and that’s when I decided to do it.”
Dave agreed to become an equity operating partner, and from there the hard work began.
“We did the re-construction, the re-engineering, and the renovating with a three-quarter Sliammon crew,” he says. “Steve Tipton took on the construction with consulting and aid from Agius Construction. We had consulting and cabinet making from Rick Hopper, and all together we came up with the design and the look that we wanted.”
Community Futures (through the Community Economic Adjustment Initiative) assisted SDC with a loan to help get the business started. The first major success they have realized, Dave says, is that eight years into the project, the Lund Hotel is still operating, and it is gaining steam.
The Lund Hotel employs about 30 people year-round, and 75 in the peak season.
Cooperation is central to the success of the Lund Hotel.
“We enjoy a good partnership with Sliammon,” Dave says, “and we’re respectful of each other’s roles.”
The future holds great promise for the Lund Hotel and its partners. They continue to increase the number of rooms available, including oceanfront boutique rooms and has expanded to include Desolation Sound Tours, a 58-foot passenger boat that accommodates 50 people.