In a landmark $480-million deal, three First Nations have bought a large section of land in one of Vancouver’s most expensive neighbourhoods with no help from investors, adding to a nearby 21-hectare parcel that was purchased from federal authorities 2 years ago.
The deal with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh pushed through because of their rights to the land in Point Grey, acknowledged as one of Canada’s highest-end real estate and a traditional site of the three communities’ former villages.
First Nations officials said that the purchase, which yielded 15 hectares in the Vancouver neighbourhood, represents a victory that far outweighs the financial cost.
“The value to us is huge. Not monetary, but the feeling of being able to say it’s ours again in a complete ownership package. I think the idea of the suffering of those who went before us, and the commitment that they made to bring us to where we are, is something that can never be measured in dollars, for sure, but it sure can be measured in spirit,” Musqueam Councillor Wendy John told APTN National News
Among the ideas being considered by the communities is a development that represents the best of the region’s indigenous history and culture, officials said.
“This is a welcoming home for us to inspire our young people to get involved in these projects,” Squamish Chief Ian Campbell stated. “We’re not a vanished race. We’re here. It’s very exciting to look at the next chapter of our collective future as we move forward and engage in business and land development.”
While some Point Grey residents are apprehensive of the possible implications on their present homes, John provided assurances that any decisions regarding the land would pass through meetings between current residents and First Nations representatives.
“They should be comfortable in knowing that we’re going to sit with them, we’re going to listen to them,” she said.