Squamish Nation's plans for apartment complex near Burrard Bridge moving ahead
The Squamish Nation is moving forward with longstanding plans to develop an 11 acre piece of land near the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver.
The property, situated on the south end of the bridge near Vanier Park, is owned by the Nation. On Wednesday, surveyors were on the site though workers said they did not know who they were hired by or what the project was.
CTV News Vancouver first reported on plans for the future of the land in 2010.
At the time, Chief Gibby Jacob said the idea was to build a multi-million dollar complex for business, government offices and rental housing.
"What we're looking at is the highest and best use for that piece of property," Chief Jacob said. "Basically our mandate is to look at the best return for the use of the land."
The project as shelved for several years because of a downturn in the economy.
"We're now in a place both politically and also in terms of our capacity as a Nation to really start looking at really big economic projects for the Nation," explained Squamish Nation councillor Khelsilem.
Details like the size of structure, height and number of units is still being discussed. A rendering obtained by CTV News in 2010 showed towers on either side of the bridge and behind the Molson brewery.
"We are looking at something that is largely rental and something that is on both sides of the bridge as well as under the bridge for the whole parcel of land there," said Khelsilem.
Since the land is traditional territory, the Nation does not need approval from the City of Vancouver to redevelop the area.
"If they do proceed with a project on these lands, we would look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship and work with them to support their integration with the existing community and city service connections," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.
With traffic already a challenge in the area and existing staples like Granville Island and Vanier Park nearby, local residents said they hope to be consulted in some way.
"Hopefully in the urban design planning of this project, all of those things will be taken into account and worked with. And the operators consulted," said West Kitsilano Residents Association co-chair Larry Benge.
The land was regained by the Squamish Nation in 2002 after decades of development.
In 2010, Jacob said the project would help create revenue for the Nation and promised to work with the city and locals.
"We're not going to go in there and be bad neighbours," he said. "We will certainly take into account the voices of the municipal government."
The West Point Grey Residents Association had a meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss other matters but the Squamish Nation project was expected to be brought up.