01/15/2015 05:38 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT

B.C., nature conservancy arrange to buy First Nation burial site off Saltspring

VICTORIA - The B.C. government and the Nature Conservancy of Canada are teaming up to buy a First Nation burial site where a landowner had been building a house.

Grace Islet, a privately owned property off Saltspring Island, has cultural and spiritual significance for local First Nations.

Construction stopped last month, and the government says a framework agreement to buy the property has been reached with the owner.

Forests and Lands Minister Steve Thomson says it can be a challenging balance to protect archeological sites while respecting private property rights.

Cowichan Tribes' Chief William Seymour says the band's perseverance means its ancestors at the burial site can now rest peacefully.

Linda Hanna of the nature conservancy says her group is honoured to be part of a solution that will protect significant cultural heritage and the ecological values on Grace Islet.