Douglas Todd: Jericho Lands planning proceeds slowly, especially with pandemic

Article content continuedThe TCM website contains an emotive video featuring local First Nations leaders talki

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The TCM website contains an emotive video featuring local First Nations leaders talking about their hopes and dreams for their property in Metro Vancouver and for Indigenous people.

Every major housing development in Metro Vancouver draws intense scrutiny — and that is the case with the Jericho Lands, which stretch for one kilometre, by far the largest chunk of property controlled by the First Nations consortium.

The West Point Grey Residents Association last year produced a sophisticated 23-page report on the Jericho Lands, which includes a survey of more than 815 nearby residents.

The survey found strong support for two and four-storey buildings on the Jericho Lands, moderate support for six-storey apartment complexes and less than two per cent support for towers above 20 storeys.

More recently the association has obtained 2,901 signatures on an online petition opposing a 14-storey Westbank complex at Broadway and Alma, which it maintains would “set a precedent for the forthcoming development in the Jericho Lands, which lie only one block away.”

While Hendren believes city staff, First Nations and federal officials want to do a good job on the Jericho Lands, he said residents fear council members will give the go-ahead to the Broadway and Alma tower, as well as for too many highrises at Jericho, because they imagine there will soon be a subway line along Broadway to UBC.

The worry, Hendren said, is in light of COVID-19 restrictions, that demand for housing in the neighbourhood will not be that intense — because the subway line might not get built, fewer students, particularly from abroad, might attend UBC and that, conceivably, more people will be working out of home offices in the suburbs.

There will be many, many discussions to come, in public and behind the scenes. Hendren, who is retired, suspects there will not be a “shovel in the ground” on the Jericho Lands for up to six years. And that the project won’t be entirely “built out” for 30 years.

“I won’t be around then.”

Vancouver, BC: JANUARY 16, 2014 -- Marcia Pitch lives on West 8th Avenue overlooking the Jericho garrison land in Vancouver, BC. Rumours of the land's sale by the federal government worries Pitch and many of her neighbours. (Photo by Jason Payne/ PNG) (For story by Matt Robinson) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Overlooking the Jericho Lands, which stretch for one kilometre along Eighth Avenue in Vancouver. Photo by Jason Payne /Vancouver Sun
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