The City of Vancouver and the Squamish Nation have signed a services agreement for the 11-tower Sen̓áḵw development in Kitsilano.
The agreement was signed Wednesday morning by Squamish Chairman Khelsilem and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.
“Today is a historic achievement for the Squamish Nation,” Khelsilem said at the event.
Few details were given in person, but a release from the Squamish Nation said the agreement “guarantees access to critical municipal infrastructure of the city of Vancouver,” including connecting the Sen̓áḵw development to city water and storm sewer services. It also promises to provide “upgrades and investments” to pedestrian and bicycle paths, transit and roads.
Development on the Squamish Reserve was approved by the nation in 2019, but the concept dates back to before 2010.
It includes 11 towers around the south side of the Burrard Street Bridge with the tallest 58-storey tower. There will be about 6,000 rental units and Khelsilem said about 250 of those are for Squamish Nation members, although that number could change.
A website is dedicated to the development, although few details have been confirmed or announced, something not required for construction on reserve land.
“We often prioritize involving our own people first, before involving the rest of the public,” Khelsilem said. “Because it’s an on-reserve development, there aren’t a lot of required engagement pieces. This is something that’s been talked about before.”
A handful of Kits Point residents also attended Wednesday morning’s announcement, expressing frustration with the city for not having contact with them.
“We’ve been trying to consult for more than a year, to find out more. to be a part of what’s happening because I think what’s happening is really exciting,” resident Lynn Kent told CTV News. “These will be our neighbors.”
Part of the plan is a transit hub, a new tram and a road through Vanier Park.
“I especially wanted to know what was going on with the roads,” says resident Diane Seear. “I would like (the city) to be more involved with us, we live here too. I think the development is fine, but I think we have to say something.”
Final details and funding for the project are “still being worked out”, which could change the shape of many aspects of the development. Construction on phase one will begin in the summer, but a start date has not yet been announced. The Squamish Nation said those details will be provided “in the coming weeks.”