Buoyed by the momentum of the Senakw project on Kitsilano reserve at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, the Squamish Nation announced it has begun exploring the development of its other properties across the BC South Coast.
A year-long planning process will be undertaken by the First Nation to identify the development opportunities of its four reserve clusters totalling about 350 acres, with over half of the land area situated on the North Shore of Metro Vancouver. This includes exploring development opportunities of an 11.5-acre strip of the Capilano reserve along Marine Drive east of the Lions Gate Bridge — between the bridge’s interchange and McGuire Avenue. This represents a small fraction of the overall Capilano reserve size of about 400 acres (including the water area) in West Vancouver and North Vancouver District.
At the northern end of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in North Vancouver District, the First Nation will plan the development potential of a cluster of 13 reserve sites that surround the bridge’s northern end and are within close proximity to TransLink’s Phibbs bus exchange. The reserves at the north end of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge include waterfront properties currently being used for industrial purposes, as well as the land of Real Canadian Superstore. The combined size of the reserve parcels near the north end of the bridge in the Second Narrows is about 112 acres.
As part of the planning process for these sites, the First Nation has enacted a temporary moratorium that signals to prospective partners, including private developers, that they are currently not accepting any unsolicited proposals to engage in a partnership for the development of these lands. At this time, the First Nation has not determined what kind of density and uses could be achieved at these sites. The forthcoming planning process will determine what kind of uses and scale the development sites can handle and the order of the projects.
The First Nation has a 50% stake in Senakw, with local developer Westbank holding 30% and the OP Trust, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and Government of Ontario pension fund holding 20%. Over the century-plus lifespan of the Senakw buildings, the project is expected to generate revenue in excess of $20 billion, with the First Nation gaining 50%, providing lasting generational wealth and economic security.