Indigenous healing and cultural centre eyed for CRAB Park on Vancouver's waterfront

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      A Vancouver waterfront park often used to commemorate missing and murdered women is being eyed as a site for an Indigenous healing and cultural centre.

      Park commissioner John Irwin notes in a motion that First Nations groups have called for such a centre at CRAB Park.

      “Waterfront spaces are critically important both culturally and ecologically to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and every opportunity should be sought to partner with them on the potential of such spaces over which the Board has jurisdiction,” Irwin stated in a motion included in the board’s agenda Monday (July 19).

      The park board leases CRAB Park from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

      Park commissioners will vote on Irwin’s motion, which seeks to do a number of things.

      One is to direct staff to clarify with the port authority whether a cultural and healing centre can be permitted at the site under the lease.

      Two, for parks staff to consult with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh  nations.

      Three, request funding from the City of Vancouver in the next capital budget for 2022-2025 if the port authority confirms that an Indigenous centre can be developed.

      Irwin recalled in the motion that the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs passed a resolution in support of an Indigenous healing lodge in CRAB Park in February 2021.

      In the resolution, the UBCIC recalled that the port authority in July 2019 announced a $1 million fund to improve CRAB Park.

      The improvements are aimed to “offset the impacts” of the $454-million expansion of Centerm container terminal at the Vancouver port.

      The UBCIC also noted that various groups, including the CRAB Water for Life Society and the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, have earlier called for an Indigenous healing lodge.

      The port authority’s Centerm expansion project is expected to be completed in 2022.