Indigenous-led joint-venture development is changing Metro Vancouver’s skyline – holds the key to solving housing crisis

·3 min read
Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase
Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase

Expert panel at 2022 Indigenous Partnership Success Showcase will delve into MST Development Corporation’s model, which has seen the First Nations acquire more than $1 billion worth of properties.

Tickets now on sale for third annual event, chaired by Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell and supported by GCT Global Container Terminals and other sponsors

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Indigenous-led land development partnerships are changing both Metro Vancouver’s urban skyline and the future of local urban First Nations.

MST Development Corporation is a partnership of the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which co-own six properties covering more than 160 acres of Metro Vancouver worth more than $1 billion. In its latest project, the corporation is developing a five-acre property on Marine Drive in West Vancouver into a townhouse community – its first project without a development partner.

At the upcoming 2022 Indigenous Partnership Success Showcase (IPSS) May 26 and 27, MST Development will be joined by Aquilini Development to discuss the Indigenous-led joint-venture model that is transforming land development in Vancouver – their challenges and successes, and what that’s meant for their nations.

Entitled New Horizons: BC First Nations Advancing Equity Participation in Land Development, the panel will be moderated by Sheryl Rivers and feature David Negrin (MST Development), Councillor Dennis Thomas "Whonoak" (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), and Johnna Sparrow (Aquilini Development). The panel is sponsored by Beedie.

Mr. Thomas, whose ancestral name is Whonoak, is an elected Councillor of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in Deep Cove. One of Business in Vancouver’s 2021 top Forty under Forty, he has managed several companies owned by the nation including a project that installed the largest solar array on the North Shore.

"The three nations collectively have been changing the development process to infuse our ways of being," he says. "With all of our development projects that are on the go we have had the opportunity to engage our members, our elders, adults and youth to embed our indigenous knowledge systems within the development process and design. Having joint ventures and partnerships allows us to accelerate that vision in a meaningful, mutually beneficial way. Partnerships also allow us to collectively rebuild our economies and business ecosystems."

Event chair Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell noted that IPSS is about building relationships that create renewal in economies and communities.

Margareta Dovgal is the event lead for the Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase, founded to bring together Indigenous, business, and government leaders for a dialogue about economic reconciliation and shared prosperity through partnership.

"When we founded the Showcase in 2020, we saw important partnerships happening that would change the face of Canada, both rural and urban, but there was no venue to discuss them and learn from the leaders and innovators making it all happen," Dovgal says.

"The reconciliation era is now here, exemplified by new models of Indigenous economic empowerment. We look forward to exploring these ground-breaking approaches, like the MST Partnership, at this year’s gathering."

Tickets are now available for the event, which will run both in-person and virtually May 26 and 27 at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim on the traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

In addition to patron sponsor GCT Global Container Terminals IPSS is also supported by platinum sponsors TELUS, Beedie, and Coastal GasLink; and other valued sponsors.

The full event agenda at this link.

Media contact:

Shawn Hall

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