Musqueam plan demonstration to mark 100 days of protest at Marpole site
Members of the Musqueam First Nation are planning a march Friday (August 10) to mark 100 days of protest at a development site in Marpole.
Cecilia Point, a Musqueam band member who has been keeping a daily presence at the site since May 3, said organizers are expecting a large crowd to march from Granville Street and 70th Avenue to the site on Southwest Marine Drive.
The lot is located in an area known as the Marpole Midden, or to the Musqueam as the ancient village and burial site of c̓əsnaʔəm.
Community members began keeping a 24-hour presence at the site after the developer applied for permission to remove human remains that were found earlier this year. Archaeological work at the site has been suspended since the remains were uncovered.
On Friday morning, Point said demonstrators will be calling on the B.C. government to rescind the archeological and alteration permits for the lot, and not to renew them again when they expire on August 15. They also want to see the remains reburied.
“They are covered with blankets, but they’re not in the ground,” Point told the Straight by phone. “Our elders are not comfortable with the way they are sitting right now.”
Representatives of the Musqueam band council are currently negotiating a settlement for the land, which is located in the 1300-block of Southwest Marine Drive.
Bob Ransford, a spokesperson for developer Century Group and property owners Gary and Fran Hackett, said his clients have asked for compensation for the land and costs incurred so far on a proposed five-storey, 108-condo development.
“We have in all good faith said we understand you would like to buy it, and we would like to be compensated for the costs,” he told the Straight by phone.
Ransford said the developer and property owners are waiting to receive an offer in writing from the Musqueam band.
The B.C. government issued an amendment to the archeological permits in June to protect a 5 meter by 14 meter area of the property where the remains were found. Musqueam community members have said that action did not go far enough, and want to see the whole site preserved as a public heritage park.
In addition to the march to the Marpole site tomorrow, demonstrators are planning to block one lane of the Granville Street on-ramp to the Arthur Laing Bridge. Point said the march will begin at 9:30 a.m.