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Opinion: Statləw̓ District will bring jobs, housing, services and much more to Maplewood

'To say that Tsleil-Waututh has not been forthcoming with our plans is simply not true,' say chief and council
TWN Chief and Council_
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation chief and council say they have been open in sharing their plans for the development of the Maplewood Lands.

Re: North Vancouver Could Add 60 to 90 Affordable Homes to Maplewood, Nov. 2 news story.

On Nov. 2, North Shore News ran the above article about a recent District of North Vancouver council meeting where there was discussion around adding 60 to 90 affordable homes in Maplewood.

Councillor Lisa Muri was quoted in that article, sharing opposition to that project and then tying in Tsleil-Waututh’s Statləw̓ District project. The way Coun. Muri managed to critique a plan for affordable housing and minimize Tsleil-Waututh’s project in one comment is problematic to our Tsleil-Waututh council.

At that council meeting, Coun. Muri said the entire plan for the Maplewood area should be reviewed because of Tsleil-Waututh’s application to the federal government to add the nearby 18.2-hectare Maplewood North lands to our reserve. Coun. Muri saying, “We have no idea what the Tsleil-Waututh, if they are successful with the addition to reserve, are going to bring forward in regards to the project, and we are already backed up again with traffic… We need to understand what is happening with the whole area instead of planning and making decisions in silos.”

After sitting down for an evening with Coun. Muri and the rest of district council at a council-to-council meeting in December 2020 to tell them about our exciting and innovative plans for the Maplewood Lands, these remarks are not only disheartening, they are misleading.

Going back to before 2014, Tsleil-Waututh has been transparent with district council about our plans to acquire the Maplewood lands and develop them into a master plan that is in accordance with the Maplewood area plan as defined in the District of North Vancouver’s official community plan.

Since 2014, Tsleil-Waututh Nation has presented to various councils at the district to share plans for the area. Following multiple road blocks with the district, including three rejections of our rezoning application – in June 2018, July 2018 and January 2019 – and a deferral in May 2019 so that an official review of the official community plan could take place, in June 2019 Tsleil-Waututh chose to explore the Addition to Reserve process with the federal government. By adding the Maplewood lands to our reserve, this would fulfill Tsleil-Waututh’s mandate to put the face of the Nation back on the territory and work towards our own self-determination.

Put simply, three separate District of North Vancouver councils have deferred our project. We have been sharing plans for this project for close to a decade. To say Tsleil-Waututh has not been forthcoming with our plans is simply not true. 

At our December 2020 council-to-council meeting with the district, we spent an entire evening explaining how Statləw̓ District will bring employment, residential, educational, recreational, retail and community services to the area, delivering what will be a vibrant development. Further, we explained how the area will be connected to surrounding neighbourhoods through improved arterial streets and an active transportation network that will include bike lanes, walking paths, and the ability to incorporate bus rapid transit. And we shared how there will be parks, plazas, open space, and natural areas throughout, facilitating a livable and sustainable neighbourhood. More information is available on our project website.

This project is at a critical time with its approval for the Addition to Reserve with the government of Canada. It is also at a critical time with the district, working together on the servicing agreement. This project allows for self-determination for our Tsleil-Waututh community. It is an opportunity for true partnership between multiple stakeholders of equal value, here at home on the North Shore. This project is reconciliation in action, working to benefit all residents of the North Shore.