Lelem is a community more than 9,000 years in the making
UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT LANDS, BC, Sept. 28, 2017 /CNW/ - The Musqueam Indian Band took a significant step towards economic sustainability today, breaking ground on a 21-acre community in the University Endowment Lands, an unincorporated area governed by the provincial government. This project marks the first time in Metro Vancouver that a First Nation is independently embarking on a comprehensive mixed-use multi-family development.
"Today marks an exciting day in the evolution of developing our lands," said Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow at a news conference. "Business development and wealth creation is nothing new for Musqueam. Guided by our core beliefs and support from our membership, we are eager and enthusiastic to embark on development of our off-reserve land holdings. In addition to generating income that will support our programs and services, the development will create career and business opportunities for our people and future generations."
In 2008, as part of a Reconciliation, Settlement and Benefits Agreement, the Province of British Columbia transferred the 21.44-acre site to the Musqueam Indian Band. This is not a reserve; it is fee-simple land. In 2013, Musqueam Capital Corporation, the band's economic development arm, filed a rezoning application and embarked on extensive public consultation. In 2016, the provincial government approved the rezoning.
The community will be called Lelem (leləm̓), which means, home. It will be built on more than 9,000 years of Musqueam principles of community and belonging, with a focus on global oneness and value for people and the environment.
Lelem will have a variety of housing, including multifamily and subsidized rental housing, retail, open space in the forms of trails and parks, and various amenities. The first condos will go on the market next summer.
"Lelem is an exciting development that will create much-needed homes, including subsidized rental housing, for people in the region," said Premier John Horgan. "It represents an important economic step for the Musqueam and I congratulate the community on this innovative project."
Musqueam Capital Corporation (MCC) is the master developer on behalf of Musqueam, who is the land owner. MCC is responsible for managing the overall project, and developing roads, services and parks. Polygon has been chosen as the building developer for the first phase.
"Musqueam is very pleased to be working with Polygon," said Chief Sparrow. "Polygon is one of our preferred developers because they consistently demonstrate tremendous leadership in design and development across all of their projects."
Lelem will be built in two phases over approximately 10 years and is expected to create hundreds of jobs. When complete, Lelem will be home to as many as 2,500 new residents.
SOURCE Musqueam Capital Corporation
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