U.S. billionaire lists B.C. island hideaway for sale
James Island and its numerous amenities can be had for $78M
If your dream home includes a championship golf course and a private airstrip, then a reclusive billionaire might have what you’re looking for on James Island near Sidney, B.C.
The list price is $78 million.
Actually, the property isn’t just on James Island, it is James Island.
The 342-hectare idyll — about three-quarters the size of Vancouver's Stanley park — lies off the coast of Vancouver Island, 20 kilometres north of Victoria.
It is owned by U.S. cellphone billionaire Craig McCaw, of Seattle.
The property features a five-thousand-square-foot mansion, a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and a mock western ghost town.
McCaw does not grant interviews, but Mark Lester, of Sotheby International Realty and McCaw’s Vancouver-based real estate agent, said the island is being sold because the McCaw family no longer has time to spend there.
"The McCaws have school-age kids, and I think what they're finding is that they're pulled in a lot of different directions with kids activities," Lester told CBC News.
"I think that they're just not finding that they're able to enjoy the island as much as they'd like."
One-time explosives plant
McCaw bought the island in 1994 for $26 million and spent millions more making it over.
James Island was once known for the manufacture of explosives. Canadian Industries Ltd. operated a plant there that produced more than 10 per cent of the bombs used by the Commonwealth in World War One.
But before CIL moved in, a First Nations community was moved out in the early 1900s. The Tsawout Nation has filed two claims on the island and tried negotiate settlements with a string of owners over the years.
"We have a village site out there that was never protected. And all of our fields, we had orchards out there that were never protected," said Eric Pelkey, a Tsawout spokesman.
Lester said the claims will not affect the sale.
"This is deeded land and any owner of deeded land has the right to sell that in Canada," he said.
With files from the CBC's Alan Waterman