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Aquilini president to steer development of First Nations' lands

David Negrin will begin his new role Dec. 1 with the MST Development Corporation
David Negrin, president of Aquilini Development and Construction Inc., has been appointed head of the MST Development Corporation and will be working with Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish First Nation (seen here on the Jericho Lands) and other First Nations leaders on land development. Photo Dan Toulgoet

The president of Aquilini Development and Construction Inc. has been appointed chief executive officer of a recently formed corporation that will oversee three local First Nations’ development plans for more than 160 acres of land in Metro Vancouver.

The combined worth of the properties is more than $1 billion.

David Negrin will begin his new job Dec. 1 as head of the MST Development Corporation, which represents the interests of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. Negrin’s appointment was announced Oct. 13 in a press release but Negrin was not made available to the Courier for an interview.

Negrin’s business links to the three nations are strong: The Aquilini Investment Group co-owns a 10-acre Liquor Distribution Branch property on East Broadway with the three nations, as well as the Willingdon Lands in Burnaby with the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh.

Aquilini has previously worked with the Musqueam on its cultural centre and, earlier this year, canvassed the Musqueam for a full-time development coordinator to oversee the development of lands owned in partnership with the three nations.

The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuth are full or co-owners of six prime properties in Metro Vancouver, including the 90-acre Jericho Lands and the 21-acre former RCMP lands on Heather Street near Queen Elizabeth Park. The federal government’s commercial property arm, Canada Lands Company, holds an equal interest in the Heather Street property and 52 acres of the Jericho Lands; the remaining 38 acres of Jericho is owned by the bands.

 “Additional information regarding each of these properties will be provided as planning and development processes begin,” according to information posted on the MST Development Corporation’s website. “It is anticipated that each of these properties would be subject to a multi-year, multi-phase planning process which will include opportunities for public input. We look forward to working with our neighbours to plan and develop these lands into inspiring, progressive and sustainable new neighbourhoods that benefit the community, region and members of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh.”

In September, the Courier published a feature that examined the three nations’ business relationship and their  plans to develop property in Vancouver. The story, which was part of the Courier’s Truth and Transformation six-part series, also revealed the provincial government intends to give the Musqueam band the green light to develop its own 21.4-acre site near the University of B.C. A developer has yet to be chosen for the project, which will include four 18-storey highrises and a community centre. It will be the first major development in Vancouver headed by a First Nation.