As reported in the Vancouver Courier the Musqueam First Nation is going ahead with the development of 21 acres of land they own close to the University of British Columbia. This comprehensive community will house 2,500 residents within four 18 storey highrises, townhouses and mid-rise buildings and will be called “Lelem”~”home” in the Musqueam language. Properties will be lease-hold with 99 year-long leases.A community centre, child care centre, grocery stores, restaurants, public areas and a park will be designed within this new community. The property is bounded by University Boulevard, Acadia Road, Toronto Road and Ortona Avenue and was given to the Musqueam First Nation in 2008 as part of a reconciliation, settlement and benefits agreement with the Province of British Columbia.
The Musqueam First Nation chose a developer for the first phase that has had a lot of experience in Vancouver, Polygon. Polygon is locally owned and operated for nearly 40 years, and the choice of Polygon was because of “leadership in design and development across all of their projects,” said Chief Wayne Sparrow in a news release.” The history of the Musqueam First Nation and their art will be a signature interpreted in this development. The development is expected to take ten years to build out and will create 1,900 jobs.
The Musqueam Capital Corporation will oversee the development of this land and has the former Mayor Michael Harcourt and Gordon Harris who is President and CEO of the Simon Fraser University Community Trust on their board. The chair of Polygon is Michael Audain who founded and developed the Audain Art Gallery in Whistler and supported the commissioning of the reconciliation pole at the University of British Columbia which was carved by Haida master carver James Hart and raised on the university’s main mall. This project is historically important as it is the first mixed use multi-family development undertaken by a First Nations in Metro Vancouver. Fittingly the principles espoused by the Musqueam for this new area focus upon community and belonging ““with a focus on global oneness and value for people and the environment.”
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