Top Vision Vancouver pick for mayor Ian Campbell tied to over $1 billion in developable properties

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      Vision Vancouver’s likely candidate for mayor is associated with at least $1 billion worth of properties primed for development.

      When Ian Campbell declared his intention at a news conference Monday (May 14) to seek Vision’s nomination, he remained listed as a member of the board of the MST Development Corporation.

      MST is the corporate entity that manages properties owned by a partnership of the Musqueam Indian Band, the Squamish Nation, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

      On its website, the company enumerated six “prime developable properties throughout Metro Vancouver” under its control.

      Four are in Vancouver. These are the western portion of Jericho Lands, which the three First Nations partnership fully owns; the eastern side of the Jericho Lands, which is co-owned by the federal Canada Lands Company; the Heather Lands (between 33rd and 37th avenues), which used to be the home of the RCMP headquarters in B.C. and are also co-owned by the Canada Lands Company; and the location of the former warehouse of the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch at 3200 East Broadway, which is co-owned with the Aquilini Investment Group.

      The three First Nations also share ownership of the Marine Drive Lands in West Vancouver with the Canada Lands Company.

      In addition, according to the company’s website, the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh co-own the Willingdon Lands in Burnaby with the Aquilini Investment Group.

      “It is anticipated that each of these properties would be subject to a multi-year, multi-phase planning process which will include opportunities for public input,” MST says.

      Based on MST’s own estimate, these six properties, with a combined area of almost 65 hectares, are worth more than $1 billion.

      Outside of these holdings, the Squamish Nation—of which Campbell is a hereditary chief and elected councillor—also owns a 4.5-hectare property at the foot of Burrard Bridge in Vancouver.

      The Squamish have expressed interest in developing the property, which is adjacent to the three-hectare Molson Coors brewery location that was purchased two years ago by Concord Pacific for $185 million.

      Vision councillor Andrea Reimer introduced Campbell at the event where he announced his mayoral aspirations.

      Reimer had earlier told the Georgia Straight that Campbell has a deep spiritual connection to the land.

      The modern city of Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. These territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender.

      Also among the Vision players in attendance at Campbell’s May 14 announcement of his mayoral intentions were Stepan Vdovine, former executive director of the party and now director of business development with property developer Amacon, and Mike Magee, a former chief of staff of the outgoing mayor, Gregor Robertson.

      The next day (May 15), an item included in city council’s agenda related to a proposed policy statement on the future development of the Heather Lands. Campbell’s name was mentioned twice in the report package submitted to council regarding the 8.5-hectare property.

      “The vision for the Heather Lands is to create a sustainable new neighbourhood that will be a place to welcome and connect all people and cultures, and to share the traditions, cultures and values of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations,” the staff report states.

      The report notes that the Heather Lands will become a “primarily residential neighbourhood”.

      According to the report, the site is “large enough to sensitively accommodate taller buildings” up to 24 storeys.

      The policy statement for Heather Lands, which includes the development of 2,300 homes, was approved on the same day.