Updated in June 2023
In November 2018, Musqueam received funding approval from BC Housing’s Indigenous Housing Fund for a multi-family housing project on the main Musqueam Reserve (IR #2), specifically for Musqueam members and their families.
This funding is a unique and important opportunity to build new housing for members, which helps fulfill Musqueam’s Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) Objective #2 of addressing our housing needs, which includes Actions 4) Build Member Housing and 5) Build Higher Density Housing.
The Musqueam Community Rental Complex (MCRC) at Lot 95, Crown Place will be owned, designed and operated by Musqueam. It will provide affordable rental units for Musqueam members and their families. Additionally, the complex will have a childcare centre, playground and new community spaces.
Demand for on-reserve housing is only increasing as Musqueam’s population continues to grow, and there is a need for all types of housing for different family sizes and stages in life. This development is an historic opportunity to help ease overcrowding, welcome home Musqueam members living away from home and continue our Musqueam cultural teachings and traditions in our community.
Frequently asked questions
Who is involved in this project?
- Musqueam Capital Corporation (project management)
- Aquilini Development (design & construction)
- Urban Arts Architecture (architects)
- Musqueam Indian Band Administration (permitting, community engagement)
- Musqueam Land Code Committee (reviews & provides recommendation to Chief & Council)
- Chief & Council (final review & permit approvals)
Where will the MCRC be located?
The Musqueam Community Rental Complex will be located at Lot 95 on Crown Place.
Lot 95 on Crown Place was chosen because it:
- is identified for multi-family Member housing in the Land Use Plan (2014) and the Comprehensive Community Plan (2011 & 2018)
- is located outside of the flood risk zone
- maximizes use of limited developable land on Musqueam Reserve
- is currently occupied by four buildings that are no longer structurally fit for use.
What testing has been done for possible environmental and cultural impacts on this site?
The following assessments related to environment and heritage were conducted for Lot 95:
- October 2018 – Geotechnical Investigation Report – conducted by GeoPacific
- June 2019 – Environmental Site Investigation for potential contaminants of concern – conducted by Teranis
- September 2021 – Arborist’s Report – conducted by Diamond Head Consulting
- October 2021 – Environmental Assessment, Musqueam – Crown Place Development Site – conducted by AquaTerra
- October 2021 – Stormwater Criteria & Design Rationale – conducted by Webster Engineering
Band members can request to review any of the above assessments.
Review of the history of the site, and assessments of topography, soil conditions, archaeological, and other environmental considerations did not raise any technical concerns. No groundwater was encountered during site testing and is not expected during construction. Subsurface conditions not expected to be prone to liquefaction or ground softening during an earthquake (as defined by 2014 City of Vancouver Building By-Law).
At 6 meters in elevation, the site is above the minimum flood protection level for development of 4.7 meters.
Regarding environmental impacts, the Musqueam Environmental Stewardship Department (ESD) reviewed the project. ESD provided feedback to the project team, especially regarding protecting the health of Musqueam Creek, preserving native species and trees, and also mitigating stormwater flows and impacts to the Creek and surrounding land. The project team addressed the feedback from ESD in the updated architectural, landscape, and engineering designs.
Protecting our heritage
Regarding protection of heritage and cultural resources, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Archaeology Department reviewed the project. In two technical memorandums (December 2019 and February 2021), the Archaeology Department concluded that due to the proximity of both registered and unregistered sites, as well as the proximity to the culturally significant Musqueam Creek, there remains potential for heritage resources not formally recorded to be present within the footprint of the proposed development at Lot 95 Crown Place. The department recommended field testing and an archaeological monitoring program taking place in tandem with the development.
What buildings will be built on the site?
In late summer 2020, the project team presented three design ideas to membership and asked for input through a community survey. After reviewing the feedback, the team recommended, and Musqueam Council approved, the site option with the lowest density. This option originally included 48 rental units (a 4-storey apartment and townhomes) and a daycare.
After further design work and updates in September 2022, the project will now include 37 rental units (a 3-storey apartment and townhomes) and a daycare.
27 rental units
- 9 x three-bedroom units
- 8 x two-bedroom units
- 10 x one-bedroom units (all adaptable for mobility requirements)
- 3 of these one-bedroom units are fully accessible
- Amenity room for all Musqueam members
- Outdoor plaza
10 rental units
- 10 townhomes with three bedrooms
- Each townhome also has a secondary, lock-off suite on the bottom floor
The daycare will accommodate up to 28 children, including infant, toddler and preschool aged children. The building will have two separate but connected outdoor playgrounds.
Why did the design changed?
The original MCRC design concepts presented to community in 2019 considered up to 74 units, including 10 townhomes and a 4- to 6-storey apartment building. After reviewing feedback from the community survey, engagement sessions, and considering input from the neighbours, the proposed density was reduced to a total of 37 units, including 10 townhomes and a 3-storey apartment building.
In order to maintain the BC Housing funding that has been committed to Musqueam, the project is required to meet certain parameters of density and form. For this reason, the option of all townhomes was considered but not pursued.
The updated project design aims to meet a range of needs expressed by Musqueam members.
Who will live at the MCRC?
The MCRC will be entirely rental units for Musqueam members and their families. Applications are separate from the housing priority list. Members can apply for both lists. Application to rent in the MCRC will not affect a member’s status on the housing list.
To be an MCRC tenant, at least one member of the household must be a Musqueam member. Eligibility will be based on BC Housing’s income limits, and rent will be based on 30% of gross household income. Units will be assigned by household size.
Example of a Musqueam family renting at the MCRC:
Family: 2 parents and 2 children
Occupations: Full-time Cook & Part-time Cashier
Monthly Income: $3,750
Monthly Rent (30% of income): $1,125
How will the MCRC be managed?
The Musqueam Housing Authority Association (MHAA) will be the entity managing the proposed housing project, and MIB directly managing the daycare. MHAA is a not-for-profit society that will be responsible for creating the MCRC’s policies and procedures. These policies will be unique to Musqueam, and aligned with the Musqueam Land Code and BC Housing standards.
Currently, a third-party property manager experienced in operating affordable housing facilities is proposed for on-site management. This company would support day-to-day operations and ensure that the policies and procedures are being followed so that all members feel safe, welcome and secure. Such an arrangement would include provisions for (1) employment and training of Musqueam community members, (2) contracting building maintenance work to companies owned by Musqueam community members, and (3) a transition plan to hand over day-to-day operation of the facility to the MHAA.
How have Musqueam community members been involved in this project?
Since 2018, the MCRC team carried out numerous engagement sessions, including community input of members living on and off reserve, Elders, youth, Musqueam staff, and leadership.
Community engagement sessions:
- April 24, 2019
- May 22, 2019
- July 23, 2019
- September 2, 2020
- October 12 & 13, 2021
Meetings with the neighbours adjacent to Crown Place:
- December 2, 2020
- July 22, 2021
- August 17, 2021
See the pages below for more details about the community engagement throughout the project:
Community Engagement 2021 – including selecting a site design concept
Community Engagement 2020 – including community input on site design concepts
Community Engagement 2019 – including project beginning and community outreach
A call went out in fall 2020 for Musqueam members to join a design advisory group that would provide advice and insight to inspire a Musqueamized design for all three buildings. Four band members representing a cross section of our community were selected to take part in the panel. The project team thanks Kevin Wilson, Mackenzie Gomez-Sparrow, Santana Palmer Thomas and Abigail Speck for providing thoughtful input about the design of the apartment building, townhomes and daycare facility.
Design Advisory Panel meetings were held virtually via Zoom:
- November 12, 2020
- August 4, 2021
Why are we building multi-family housing?
ʔi ɬeʔ nem̓ t̕ak̓ʷ – Let’s Go Home
Community discussions about multi-family housing have been ongoing for decades. But Musqueam currently occupies only 0.2% of our traditional territory, and there is very limited available land on reserve that is suitable for housing development.
Members have continually called for a greater mix of housing types, including:
- Multi-family and apartments
- Low-income, and other innovative approaches
- Infill housing
We know that there is a need for a mix of housing in Musqueam to support different family sizes and life transitions, including:
- Elders who want to downsize
- Families with an Elder they are caring for
- Families with adult children attending university
- Young couples starting a family
- Singles who are starting their careers or are in school
As of 2016, 52% of Musqueam members were under the age of 30. The demand for housing will only increase as our youthful population continues to grow. About 30% of Musqueam households experience overcrowding, and about 9% of on-reserve members live in homes where there are four to seven more people than bedrooms in the home.
Many members who rely on rental housing experience housing instability. More women than men rent, and almost three times as many off reserve households are renting. This means that women and those living off reserve are more likely to experience housing instability.
The lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver also contributes to the critical housing shortage facing Musqueam and its members. In Canada, Vancouver is the most expensive city to rent in. 52% of Musqueam member households have an annual income of $60,000 or less. As of April 2023, the average rent in Metro Vancouver for an available 1-bedroom is $2,262, $2,962 for a 2-bedroom, and $3,757 for a 3-bedroom.
While the MCRC does not provide home ownership opportunities to members on the housing priority list, this project will address the need for affordable rental housing for band members who do not have the income ready enough to buy a home. It can also alleviate the overcrowding currently happening in homes on-reserve.
In short, we want to provide affordable housing options for as many of our members as possible. A mix of housing (multi-family housing) will make best use of the limited land available, is less expensive to build and service, and meets a greater range of our members’ housing needs.
Have another question?
If you’d like more information or have any questions or concerns, please contact Grace Ulu (MIB Housing Manager) at [email protected] or 604-771-2101.
Email [email protected] to be added to the project contact list.
Watch for updates here and on the Musqueam Facebook Page.