Housing, a hotel and a retail village could spring up on the endowment lands at the University of B.C. over the next dozen years.
The Musqueam Band wants to develop the 22-acre parcel between University Boulevard and Acadia Road that was returned to it by the provincial government under a 2008 reconciliation agreement.
“We want to make sure that we create a benefit for our future generations, and Musqueam has not had the opportunity to do that because of lack of land to do that in our traditional territory,” said Wade Grant, an economic development coordinator, band councillor and candidate for chief.
The public is invited to weigh in on development plans for the parcel called Block F online and at an open house Dec. 6.
Three acres of the property could be reserved for park space, and Grant said the Musqueam want the broader community to provide input on the best use of that area.
The band intends to apply to the province to change the multi-family zoning to allow for 10- to 12-storey residential buildings and retail.
There are no buildings of such heights “right across the street,” Grant noted, but he added, “UBC has been doing a lot of redevelopment in their area as well, and a number of towers have gone up that are quite tall, taller than what we’re proposing.”
Colliers International real estate service is advising the Musqueam on development.
The upcoming open house is intended to be the first of three or four.
“Many times, Musqueam in particular, or other First Nations, have had things done even around their territory without consultation, so we do know how that feels, and we want to make sure that we pay the respect to the community so that they can have their input put in,” Grant said.
He emphasized that Block F is private property and not reserve land.
“People think when a First Nation is going to develop, they have ultimate power, they can do anything; that’s not the case,” he said. “That’s why we want to go above and beyond with consultation to make sure the community is happy and comfortable as we move forward.”
The Musqueam hope to break ground in 2014 and develop their property over the next 10 to 12 years. “We want to become less dependent on government funding so that we can truly be that self-sustaining, independent community that we want to be.”
The Musqueam Band leases out some of its reserve land and owns a building in Burnaby used by Nokia and the former Fraser Arms hotel site, now home to a liquor store and discount store.
Block F is one of three properties transferred to the Musqueam in 2008. Grant says there are no plans for the land next to the reserve on Southwest Marine Drive nor the UBC Golf Course, which must remain a golf course until 2083.
The open house runs at the University Gold Club, 5185 University Blvd. from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information or to respond to a survey, visit placespeak.com and search for “Musqueam.”