When Amber Simpson met Angela van den Hout, the two immediately found mutual respect in shared values and a vision for a better future.
Simpson, CEO of Alexzi Building Solutions, had been looking for the right piece of land on which to build a green manufacturing plant to produce the company’s sustainable exterior panels.
Van den Hout, director of economic development for the Malahat Nation, was looking for companies whose tenancy, for the planned sustainable business park on Malahat lands, would align with reconciliation efforts, amongst other goals.
Both saw the potential for a mutually beneficial partnership. After a year and a half of conversations, a signed letter of intent will lead to the Malahat Nation building Alexzi’s 100,000-plus-square-foot manufacturing facility, set to be operational in 2023.
For Alexzi, there was “a huge educational component” to the partnership, with many benefits, including the company creating its own reconciliation strategy. After reading through the nation’s community plans to further her understanding of the objectives for its lands, Simpson was further assured that their visions were aligned.
“If we’re going to have our land site there, how are we giving back to the nation beyond just paying our lease?” says Simpson. “We’re really hoping to be an employer but also, through training and education and finding other kinds of involvement that we can do in the community to give back.”
The promise of approximately 150 new jobs, many relating to simple manufacturing processes, like painting and sanding, open the door for a variety of employment opportunities — an important consideration to the Malahat Nation, and to any company looking for labour in today’s market.
“We want to create not only a sustainable business park, but a real community, where people feel that they’re able to be part of something larger,” says Simpson.