Addressing housing needs
The Musqueam Community Rental Complex is a multi-family housing project that addresses Musqueam’s Comprehensive Community Plan Objective #2: Addressing Our Housing Needs, which includes Actions 4) Build Member Housing and 5) Build Higher Density Housing. Musqueam Housing Authority, a non-profit mandated to provide safe and affordable housing for members, will own and operate the complex.
This is an opportunity to welcome home Musqueam members who have been living away from home for far too long, and to address the significant overcrowding in housing on and off reserve.
Selecting Lot 95, Crown Place
The first phase of community engagement occurred in spring and summer 2019. Members attended three information sessions and provided feedback to the project team. In 2019, MIB Council selected Lot 95, Crown Place on Musqueam Indian Reserve #2 for the location of the new complex based on community consultation, the Comprehensive Community Plan and the Land Use Plan. Learn more more about the Musqueam Community Rental Complex on the project overview page.
Designing the new complex
In February 2020, Council authorized Musqueam Capital Corporation (MCC) to takeover project management of the MCRC. This transition occurred after the unexpected loss of the original project manager, who was a long-time partner and friend of Musqueam. MIB Council also approved hiring Aquilini Development for design and construction following a request for proposal process. Shortly after, Urban Arts Architecture was hired as the MCRC architects. Together, Musqueam Administration, MCC, Aquilini and Urban Arts make up the MCRC Project Team.
In spring and summer 2020, the team created a project vision and guiding principles and worked to confirm the project scope. The name of the project changed from the Multi-Family Affordable Rental Housing project to the Musqueam Community Rental Complex, to better reflects who the project will house and how the space will be used.
On June 15, 2020, the MCRC project team presented a conceptual design update to C&C in preparation for community engagement in late summer 2020. Multiple design options were presented, including three site layouts, two townhome designs, and three examples of apartment building height.
Community input on site concepts
On August 20, 2020, the project launched the second phase of community engagement, this time focusing specifically on the site design concepts. Due to Covid-19, information normally presented in-person was presented through four pre-recorded videos. Members were invited to watch the videos, read the information on the website and answer the online survey before September 7. The survey was anonymous and comprised of 18 questions to hear feedback on the site concepts. Survey results are summarized later on this page, or available in full here.
A virtual information session was held on September 2, where the architect presented the site concepts in a 30-minute presentation. Originally, two information sessions were planned in August for this engagement phase, using a hybrid method of in-person and online. Due to two deaths in our community and rising cases of Covid-19, including a community outbreak within our relatives at Squamish Nation, the sessions were cancelled and postponed. Read more about the session below.
A recording of the September 2 session is on MIB’s Vimeo page.
Community engagement strategy
The MCRC Project Team’s engagement strategy for input about the site concepts included:
- Online survey with accompanying videos explaining the site design concepts
- MIB website: written information with same content from the videos
- Online information session with presentation from Urban Arts and a Q&A session
The site concepts survey, information session and website were promoted through:
- Direct email list to members who signed up at previous information sessions
- Musqueam Facebook Page & Event
- Musqueam website
- All-staff emails
- Info session
The MCRC Site Concept Community Survey was open August 20 – September 7. It was anonymous, and asked 18 questions about demographics and feedback on the proposed site concepts. The 32 respondents who completed the survey represented full demographics of the community, including 31 Musqueam band members and one community member living in a Musqueam household.
What we heard
- Members favoured Site Concept Option A2
- The mixture of unit sizes chosen during the earlier request-for-proposal stage reasonably matches the needs of the surveyed community members
- Musqueam members residing off-reserve preferred higher density and higher building height
- Members residing on-reserve preferred lower density and lower building height
- Participants were in favour of in-suite laundry
- Concerns were raised about parking availability as members often have more than one vehicle
- Amenity spaces favoured by the community include:
- a children playground area
- outdoor gathering area with covered portion and BBQ
- garden plots
- large multi-purpose room to accommodate 10 to 20 people
- secure bike storage
A virtual information session was held on Zoom Webinar on September 2. There were 22 Musqueam members attendees, two councillors and 16 members of the project team, including staff from Musqueam Administration, Musqueam Capital Corp., Urban Arts Architecture and Aquilini Development.
The project architect gave a 30-minute presentation about the site design concepts, and there was about an hour and a half of Q&A with community. Most comments and questions from the session focused on the overall governance and operation of the facility. Questions included project details on construction hours/duration, how to apply for housing, enforcement and management and how the site was chosen.
The following concerns brought up during the discussion are regarding the site concepts:
- High-density development on Lot 95
- Proposed daycare spaces and parking
- How the creek will be protected
Concerns were also raised related to governance and operation of the facility:
- Security and bylaw enforcement
- Third-party administration/property management
- The application/selection process for tenants and accommodation of members on the housing waiting list
- Musqueam involvement during construction
A full summary of the community information session, including answers to questions raised, will be available soon. Check back here.
Using the feedback from the survey and information session, a briefing note was submitted to Chief and Council on September 16, 2020 to report on the input and recommend an option to proceed to design development.
The following motion was adopted by C&C:
Chief and Council of the Musqueam Indian Band authorise the Project Team to proceed with design development of the following conceptual design options for the Musqueam Community Rental Complex:
- Option A – Three detached buildings for an apartment complex, townhomes, and daycare,
- Option A2 – Ten three story townhomes option c/w ten lock-off suites (aka granny suites), with access and parking on east side of building and backyards on west side,
- 34-unit, four story apartment building,
- Daycare building sized for up to 69 children of which initial spare capacity to be utilized for office space.
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback through the survey and information session. Since the first phase of engagement in 2019, there was a gap in communication. The MCRC Project Team is committed to updating community more frequently and are working hard to address the questions raised in the survey and information sessions. We want community to feel informed about the opportunities this multi-family housing complex brings instead of feeling confused by a lack of.
The project team is currently designing the site concept based on the approved selection, and are defining form and character of the three buildings. As we continue to plan the project site design, we are creating a small advisory group to ensure the buildings are Musqueamized and represent the history and culture of our people. The committee will be comprised of Musqueam members selected through an application process and will advise specifically on design elements.