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Squamish Nation selects planning partners for massive development project

The Nation is making strides with its plans to redevelop five reserve sites on the North Shore, the Sunshine Coast and in Squamish

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) is moving full steam ahead with its project to redevelop large swathes of reserve land, with two multidisciplinary design and urban planning teams now selected to take on development plans.

Earlier this year the Nation announced it would be developing 350 acres of its reserve land with a focus on two North Shore locations: the Marine Drive area of Xwmélch’sten Capilano I.R. No. 5 near Capilano Road and the Ch’ich’élx̱wí7 ḵw Seymour Indian Reserve No. 2 near Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

Development is also penned for the Sunshine Coast at the Ch’ ḵw’elhp Indian Reserve No. 26, and at the Stá7mes Indian Reserve No. 24 in the District of Squamish.

For the North Van locations the Nation has secured Perkins & Will Architects and Liveable City Planning, with subcontractors PWL Partnership Landscape Architects, Cory Douglas Modern Formline Design, Ginger Gosnell-Myers Consulting, and Bunt & Associates Transportation Engineering.

Development at the Sea to Sky and Sunshine Coast sites will be by HCMA Architecture & Design, with the aid of Nation members at the Sky Spirit Studio, and Urbanics Consultants Limited.

“These teams were selected by Nation and Nch’ḵay̓ staff based on their understanding of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh worldviews, proposed collaborative design processes and understanding of market and industry opportunities,” said Mindy Wight, CEO of Nch’ḵay̓ Development Corporation, which is the economic development arm of the Squamish Nation.

When announcing the project in March this year, the Nation said it would be embarking on a 14-month moratorium on unsolicited development proposals to work more closely with its affordable housing provider Hiy̓ám̓ Housing, and its development corporation Nch’ḵay̓, to develop land use strategies and to help fund infrastructure projects.

It had issued an expression of interest for urban planning, urban design, land economics, cultural design, and engineering consultants to support this work.

The Nation issued an expression of interest for development firms who would maximize both the potential financial value of the area and the benefit to the community, all while keeping with Squamish values, culture and worldview.

The development itself will be a mix of residential and industrial, with a focus on bringing together the community through a number of amenities like elder centres, health care clinics, healing centres, community centres, schools and public parks.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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