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MST Nations unveil concept for Jericho Lands community

Plans include housing, parks, amenities, commercial space and a school that will span the 36.4 hectares.

The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (MST Nations) and Canada Lands Company (CLC) have unveiled their revised concept for the Jericho Lands 36.4-hectare (90-acre) master-planned community.  

Features in the announcement include plans for 13,000 new homes for different household types, community gathering spaces and amenities throughout the neighbourhood, and designs that will support transit-oriented and car-light active living, according to a press release. 

Approximately 2,600 homes will be affordable and social housing, with approximately 1,300 homes designated for moderate-income rental housing. Housing opportunities on the Indigenous-owned land would be limited to leasehold tenure, making home ownership more affordable than freehold. 

Buildings range from eight storeys up to 45 storeys with three “sentinel” buildings at 49 storeys, which represent each of the First Nations. 

Launched in 2019 following the land acquisition in 2014, the Jericho Lands planning program is a partnership between the MST Nations and CLC.

The revised site plans are part of the fourth phase of a City of Vancouver-led engagement process that will run from June 16, 2023 to July 16, 2023. 

“ʔəy̓alməxʷ/Iy̓álmexw/Jericho Lands is a unique opportunity for Musqueam, Squamish, TsleilWaututh and Canada Lands Company. For the nations, not only are we taking our rightful place as landowners and economic leaders, but we will be showcasing our culture like never before. For CLC, it has been a chance to demonstrate their commitment to the future of our communities in a sustainable and meaningful way,” said yəχʷyaχʷələq-Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, in a media statement. 

MST and CLC will include cultural and amenity spaces within the community, including roughly 360 daycare spaces, residences and seniors’ spaces, a community centre and a public elementary school, according to a press release. 

The development will have a focus on car-light transportation, emphasizing walking, rolling and cycling. To promote this, there will be over 13 kilometres of foot and bike paths and a limited number of streets. 

There is also the potential for a Jericho Lands SkyTrain station and another potential station near Alma Street. 

Approximately eight hectares of the 36.4 hectares will be reserved for park space with another four hectares dedicated to open spaces, sports fields, playgrounds, and natural and forested areas. This includes retaining 75 per cent of a roughly one-hectare forested area that is already on the site. 

One of the main aspects of the community is its celebration of the partnership between the three First Nations and their culture. Commercial cultural spaces are said to provide opportunities for traditional practices such as carving. 

The neighbourhood will provide 30 years of employment, contracting, education and skills training as the new community is built. 

“We are proud of our culture and look forward to sharing our way of life and worldview with all who will live in and visit this incredible future neighbourhood. With ʔəy̓alməxʷ/Iy̓álmexw and other projects made possible by our Nations working together, we are creating modern Indigenous communities where all will be welcome,” said Sxwíxwtn-Wilson Williams, spokesperson and general councillor for the Squamish Nation, referencing Indigenous place names for the Jericho Lands in a press release.