via The Georgia Straight
It has been over a year since my last update on the development of the Jericho Lands. As someone who lives and works in this neighbourhood, I share both your aspirations and your concerns about such a significant development in our community.
Jericho Lands is a 21-hectare parcel owned jointly between Canada Lands Corporation (CLC) and three local First Nations—Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh—with CLC being the project manager.
In April 2016, the three First Nations announced their purchase of the adjacent 15-hectare parcel from the Province of British Columbia, bringing the total area to 36 hectares of prime urban land. Over the past five years, I met many times with community members and senior leaders connected with the project, and had over 600 local residents engage with me on this issue.
Since my last update, CLC has begun work on the old RCMP Lands (Heather Street), and are well into the process of the public engagement stage of the City of Vancouver’s development approvals process. There is information on its;website about how to get involved.
CLC has also extended the leases on the military housing on Jericho Lands until 2020. The timing of the development planning process it will launch for the Jericho Lands has yet to be determined, reflecting the complexity and scope of this project.
Recently, I met with Mayor Gregor Robertson, as well as key ministers in Ottawa and senior staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. I also had the chance to meet with Canada Lands executive vice president Robert Howald, and regional director of real estate Deana Grinnell for an update on Jericho Lands and their progress with the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, now collectively the MST partners.
I am pleased CLC reconfirmed its commitment to developing Jericho Lands, the full 36 hectares, in one coherent planning process, and made a commitment to public consultation and engagement early in the development process, which are two key issues I have been advocating for.
I also consulted with world-famous landscape architect, and recent Companion of the Order Canada award recipient Cornelia Oberlander, which led to the idea of a symposium in Vancouver with world-class presenters to learn about best practices in urban development from around the world—an idea that Canada Lands is supportive of in principle.
My office has also received calls about Jericho Lands being a potential site for some of the City of Vancouver’s temporary low-income modular housing. However, Canada Lands assured me that it is committed to looking at the land in its entirety and not prematurely making a decision that could impact future development.
Residents of Vancouver respect the traditional Indigenous connection to these lands; they appreciate the site’s current mix of forest, green space, historic buildings, military family housing, and recreational and social services; and they want Jericho’s next chapter to serve the community’s values and aspirations for the future.
I will continue to work for a process that includes the citizenry in a meaningful way, and will continue to keep you informed. Only by working together can this unique and important site be transformed into something our region’s citizens, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, will be proud of for generations to come.