community history

Sandspit is a small community of 250 - 300 residents located on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Canada. It is built on and close to the ancient Haida site of Kil Llnagaay, and it is the only community on Moresby Island.

The more recent development of Sandspit began in the early 1900s, with the establishment of a few farms and a cattle ranch on this flat, grassy land. During WWII, the Canadian Airforce built an airport, that continues to serve as Haida Gwaii’s main airport. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, as logging intensified in the area, the community grew to a population of approximately 1000. However, in the decade that followed, the logging industry declined and the community shrank. Many once-thriving businesses closed their doors or had to downsize.

Today, logging remains one of the main industries on Haida Gwaii, albeit in a reduced state. Similar to elsewhere in British Columbia, Sandspit is in the process of slowly transitioning away from a resource extraction economy.


Political History

Sandspit is an unincorporated settlement. Sandspit does not have a Mayor, Councillors or Town Office, but instead, is supervised by the North Coast Regional District (NCRD), formerly Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District. NCRD is a provincial electoral area that encompasses the coastal and inland communities along the Skeena River basin (including Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Terrace) and Haida Gwaii. The NCRD supervises unincorporated communities as well as any other rural areas within its jurisdiction, making decisions about infrastructure (roads, community buildings) and basic services (water, garbage disposal).

Sandspit residents elect a community member to represent the area - District Area E - at the regional level (Our District Representative and Area E Director in 2019 is Evan Putterill). District Area E encompasses the whole of Moresby Island, excluding Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Other rural and unincorporated communities on Haida Gwaii, including Tlell and Tow Hill-North Beach are part of District Area D, and they elect their own representative.

In addition to a District Representative, Area E residents also elect the members of a unique Advisory Committee called MIMSC. For more information about MIMSC, refer to the History page of this site.