The Musqueum First Nation sent out a press release Wednesday (Aug. 22) announcing it is ending its ongoing protest at the site of a proposed condo development on an ancient burial site.
But although band management has withdrawn their official support, this doesn’t mean individual protesters will necessarily stop showing up to drum and sing as they have done almost every day and night for four months.
“People can continue to go down there but there is going to be no organized event any more,” band spokesperson Wayne Grant told the Courier. “I know one or two people are still down there with lawn chairs right now, it’s just not an organized event from band membership.”
The band first began protesting May 3 after human remains were unearthed at the site on the 1300-block of Southwest Marine Drive, during the preparation of the site for a 108-unit project. Since then work on the five-storey commercial and residential complex has been stalled, and the band is demanding the provincial government step in and approve its offer to exchange another piece of land with Century Group HQ Developments Ltd. for the site.
“It’s merely a gesture,” said Grant. “We haven’t really made significant progress. However, we are still at the table and are optimistic something can be done in the future.”
Bob Ransford, a spokesman for the developer, said he first heard about the announcement on Twitter. While he welcomed the news, he added that the two sides are no closer to an agreement than they were before the press release was released.
“It is excellent news and a sign of good faith,” said Ransford. “Hopefully this will get us further along the road where we both want to go, which is to resolve the issue. We’ve told them we are willing to sell them the land and that is where we are headed.”
Although the land is privately owned and protected by private property laws, the site was declared a national historic site in 1933. Located at the north arm of the Fraser River, it was once the location of an ancient Coast Salish winter village.