The For Sale has gone up again on the Bridge River Valley ghost town of Bradian.
Seven months after a group of Chinese investors purchased the community, the realtor representing the investors says his clients are selling the town because of changes in B.C. immigration rules.
The China Zhong Ya Group Hebei Canada-China Co. bought the 20-hectare townsite for just under $2 million last year; Bradian Project spokesperson Mike Mills says they were planning on bringing more investors on board through the Provincial Nominee Program.
The program allowed people to immigrate to B.C. if they invested enough money in a business that could create jobs.
“That was the original plan with these investors,” Mills told the Vancouver Sun.
“Part of the setup was we’re going to rebuild the town into the heritage condition. You would bring a person to run a motel, build houses, a convenience store, a bunch of specialty shops…and all of those people could invest and get the eventual profits.”
But the provincial government put a hold on new applications this spring because of an excess of applicants, and has since modified the qualifications. Mills says he’s now looking for a new group interested in restoring the site and turning it into a destination for backcountry recreation.
The group is asking $1.2 million for Bradian. The town was built in the 1930s during the Bridge River Valley gold boom. It grew into a community with approximately 60 houses during a period when more than 5,000 residents lived in the valley. But Bradian was abandoned in 1971 when the nearby gold mines of the day shut down.
The ghost town still has 22 buildings, including several houses, on a single 50-acre plot that still has basic infrastructure such as hydrants, hydro power and telephone lines, but the buildings are in disrepair and serious upgrades are needed.
SLRD Area A Director Debbie Demare says area residents were hopeful the Bradian Project would be a major investment in the Bridge River Valley that would trigger other economic development in the area.
“I think as time went on and we didn’t hear too much, there was some speculation and concern about the project,” Demare told the News. “People are disappointed by the For Sale announcement, but I think we, as a community, remain really hopeful and we believe in Bralorne and Bradian as a great place to develop a backcountry/tourism/heritage-type opportunity. I’m really optimistic.”
She believes community members share her sentiments. “I think everybody would say we’re hopeful, we hope whoever buys it would work with our community and we’re definitely open to development of a backcountry tourism operation.”