The second of three planned open houses regarding the Musqueam Indian Band’s proposal to develop a 22-acre parcel on University Endowment Lands goes ahead Feb. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the University Golf Club, 5185 University Blvd.
The band wants to develop land known as Block F between University Boulevard and Acadia Road, which was returned to it by the provincial government under a 2008 reconciliation agreement.
Community consultation is in advance of a formal rezoning application, which will be submitted to UEL. The first open house on Dec. 6 attracted 300 people over four hours, according to Gordon Easton, the project manager from Colliers International.
“Generally I would say a lot of the comments were fairly positive [at the first open house] and, of course, we’re adding more information as we continue with the open house program,” he said.
A handful of questions were asked at the Dec. 6 meeting. Easton said the open house succeeded in providing more information about the Musqueam Band and the rezoning process.
“When we got into do you think there should be a greater mix of housing on the property, again there was support for all different kinds of housing and shops and services,” he said.
A minimum of three acres is reserved as park space on the property.
“One of the things we’re exploring is, depending on the form of development, are there opportunities for increase that amount of park space,” Easton said.
A Courier story published in December indicated the band intended to submit a rezoning application that would allow for 10- to 12-storey residential buildings, but Easton said the band is now looking at buildings ranging from townhouses to 16 to 22 storeys “similar to what UBC has developed.”
Easton added that it’s too early to say how many residential buildings could be included in the project, while 30,000 square feet of retail and a 100- to a 120-room hotel are possibilities.
Conceptual drawings will be on display at Wednesday’s open house and feedback from the first open house will be shared. A summary of results from the first open house can also be found at placespeak.com/UELBlockF.
“We are presenting more of our design objectives for how the site could be developed in the future and then we’ve got a couple of development concepts at a very early stage, but [we’re] trying to gain people’s preferences on, for example, park space — where it should be, how it’s configured, where the commercial village should be located — and trying to pull these together into a very early concept for development,” Easton said.
If rezoning is approved, the project will be developed over a 10- to 13-year period.
“So you won’t see development happen all at once,” Easton said. “It will respond to the market. We’re looking at starting construction on the earliest buildings probably in 2014 at this point. It’s just completely dependent on the market going forward beyond that.”
Meanwhile, Easton acknowledges some people will oppose any kind of development on the property.
“I guess the intention of trying to talk to the community is to figure out are there certain priorities or issues that are quite important to people that we can hopefully try to incorporate within the future development,” he said.