Musqueam plan demonstration to mark 100 days of protest at Marpole site

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      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.



      Ashley Churchill

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:26pm

      Musqueam shouldn't have to buy back their OWN land. Further, it's been a National Historic Site since May 25, 1933 ( so the land shouldn't have been sold for development in the first place. If anyone should have to "compensate" the owners, it would be the government, not the Musqueam.
      If you buy property on a known contested heritage site and pre-sell 80 some units before even having public hearings, rezoning from commercial to residential or having completed the archaeological work, you shouldn't be compensated. If you take the risk, you deal with the consequences.
      I also don't see how the owners can say "in all good faith" when they drive by the site middle-fingering the supporters...
      If it had gravestones, and were labeled a "cemetery" would development occur? No. The Cesna?em IS a burialsite, a "cemetery" if you will. Remains were also found in an adjoining property when blacktopping work was carried out without proper permits.
      Aboriginal rights are being trampled on and the law is only being used when convenient for Government and developers. The government has the responsibility to compensate any “owners” of properties on the entire Marpole Midden and village site, pay for demolition of buildings and support the Musqueam in putting up a cultural heritage park. That, and no less than that, would be “reconciliation” instead of just paying lip-service to the term.