Earlier this year Mayor Stewart announced that a servicing agreement had been signed between the Squamish First Nation and the City of Vancouver for the development of the First Nations project Sen̓áḵw.
The agreement for 150 years was signed on May 25 for the 10.2 acre property and was to be public but has finally been released in August. These agreements are normally done to provide servicing to new sites, and ensure that critical infrastructure like water, electricity and sewer are available, and have the capacity to service the new development. It also details how things like police, fire and ambulance will be accommodated, and addresses any outstanding infrastructure issues.
The agreement also outlines the location in towers of the 6,080 units in the project, which are all rental with 20 percent at or below average market rents, which is City policy approved in 1988.
The strata units that were previously contemplated in the project appear to have abandoned. The project anticipates being built out over four phases.
The Sen̓áḵw Servicing Agreement provides more detail on a project that has been a bit shy on updates. Now the final wording has been approved by both parties and you can take a look at the full 250 page agreement and attachments here.
The agreement gives a historical context to the land, and notes that the development will follow the laws that are in force in the Province of British Columbia. It also recognizes that the First Nation has the right to develop the land as they see fit.
The agreement provides for a “systems” approach to capacity planning with “appropriate level of public amenity and infrastructure” needed for the project. The agreement means that at this stage the infrastructure will conform to all city standards and will create public amenities, and that the First Nation will be reimbursing the city for work that would normally be covered in permit costs paid to the City of Vancouver.
Community Integration is a key goal in the agreement, with minimal detrimental impacts and risks to surrounding neighbourhoods, and no financial risk to the city.
Transparency is also important, which is the reason this document is now publicly available.
In terms of the public interest, Sen̓áḵw has five major objectives:
a. Climate Leadership at a Global Scale;
b. A legacy for the First Nation;
c. Economic Benefit for the Nation’s housing, education and social services needs;
d. Promoting reconciliation between the Nation and the City;
e. to assist with Vancouver’s housing crisis.
The Agreement recognizes that the reserve land is not subject to the typical community planning process the City would normally undertake, but agrees that if there is a five percent or more change in the development proposed that the agreement can be modified.
The road to to the development as well as the proposed services corridor will cross Vanier Park which is owned by the Canadian government and leased to the City of Vancouver.
In terms of park space, the new mall rooftop park at Oakridge Centre and the new Rainbow Park at Smithe and Richards are being used as examples.
In terms of development, the site will be staged in four phases, with build out anticipated by 2033.
The buildings will meet or exceed BC Energy Code Step 3 (the buildings will be 20% more efficient) and one building will be a mass timber structure.
The agreement also stipulates the inclusion of public art and anticipates a streetcar, that would either connect with the Canada Line or Science World. A ferry station is also mentioned, and the potential for a ferry line that connects with Squamish lands in North Vancouver is included. The Nation will also be paying for a 15 million dollar study/design for a transit hub on the Burrard Bridge. This will also expand bridge width to service the development and modes of travel and access.
While all designs under this agreement will be submitted to the City of Vancouver for review, the agreement notes that City of Vancouver approval is not needed. However for insurance purposes the physical design of buildings and units will have to go through some kind of design and development standard review to ensure they are built to building code and life safety standards.
Phase One has three towers with 1,411 units on Burrard Bridge’s west flank.
Phase Two is located to the east with four towers and an office tower, with 1,570 units.
Phase Three is on Burrard Bridge’s east flank with just under 1,600 units. This is the location that anticipated 59 storeys of height on one of the two towers.
Phase Four has 1500 units in two towers on the stretch of land close to English Bay.
Build out is expected to take eleven years, with the first phase completed in 2026.
You can take a look at the website for the development of Sen̓áḵw here, which is in partnership with the First Nation’s development arm and with Westbank Project Corporation.
The CBC video below outlines the agreement between the Squamish Nation and the City of Vancouver and provides some of the history of this ancestral site.