Minister John Duncan
Minister of Northern and Indian Affairs
600 Confederation Buiding
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
June 12, 2012
Dear Minister Duncan,
I am writing to request your help in resolving the situation regarding proposed development of the Musqueam village site c̓əsnaʔəm, located on what is also known as the Marpole Midden, in the constituency of Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia. The Marpole Midden has been classified a National Historic Site of Canada since 1933 and has important cultural and historical significance to the Musqueam people and all other British Columbians.
Century Group HQ Developments Ltd. was granted the necessary provincial and municipal permits to develop a residential complex on the property, which has been held in fee simple ownership for decades. More than half of the units in the complex have been pre-sold. As you are aware, in the process of investigating the archaeological significance of the site, intact human remains were found in a part of the Midden which had not previously been disturbed, and the provincial investigation permit for that part of the site was rescinded.
The Musqueam Band members and supporters have been engaged in active protest against the development of the site by Century Group HQ Developments Ltd. since May 3, 2012. In order to protect the unique cultural values of this site, Musqueam have proposed to purchase the entire holdings from the owner, using the value of land assets provided by the Province for their South Perimeter Road compensation. The owners appear willing to sell, but are expecting to recover their costs.
Through my discussions with Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mary Polak, representatives of Century Group, as well as with a Musqueam Band representative, I understand this situation involves multiple parties and elements. That’s why a more senior negotiator was recently assigned by the Province to replace the previous negotiator and help the Province of BC, land owner, Musqueam Band and City of Vancouver find a solution. The interests of all parties involved will be best served by a speedy and satisfactory resolution, but impediments remain.
I request that, as the federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, you help the Parties achieve a mutually agreeable solution. This may involve funds to bridge the gap between Musqueam financial capacity and fair value of the property, or may be in the form of other resources or innovations. The land in question is a federally designated National Heritage site involving millenia of aboriginal use, and is of special significance to the Musqueam Band. I am confident federal support will help produce a sustainable resolution that preserves the values of the site, while respecting other private and community interests.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra
CC:Chief Ernest Campbell and Council Members
Musqueam Indian Band
The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
His Worship Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver
The Honourable Mary Polak
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Leader of the BC New Democratic Party
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Liberal Party of Canada critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
President of Century Group HQ Developments Ltd.