Services agreement signed for 11-tower Senakw development in Kitsilano

The City of Vancouver and the Squamish Nation have signed a services agreement for the 11-tower Sen̓áḵw development in Kitsilano.

The agreement was signed Wednesday morning by Squamish chairperson Khelsilem and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“Today is a historic achievement for the Squamish Nation,” Khelsilem said at the event.

Few details were given in person, but a release from the Squamish Nation said the agreement “ensures access to critical municipal infrastructure from the City of Vancouver,” which includes connecting the Sen̓áḵw development to city water and storm sewer services. It also promises to provide “upgrades and investments” to pedestrian and cycling paths, transit and roads.

The development on Squamish reserve land was approved by the nation in 2019 but the concept stretches back before 2010.

It includes 11 towers around the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge with the largest tower set to be 58 storeys. There will be around 6,000 rental units and Khelsilem said about 250 of those will be earmarked for Squamish Nation members, though that figure could change.

A website is dedicated to the development, though few details have been confirmed or announced, something not required for construction on reserve land.

“We often set a priority to engage our own people first before we engage the rest of the public,” Khelsilem said. “Because it’s an on-reserve development, there isn’t a lot of required engagement pieces, this is something that has been talked about previously.”

A handful of Kits Point residents also attended Wednesday morning’s announcement, expressing frustration at the city for not engaging with them.

“We have tried for more than a year to try to consult with, to learn more. to be part of what's happening, because I think what’s happening is really quite exciting,” resident Lynn Kent told CTV News. “These will be our neighbours.”

Part of the plan includes a transit hub, a new streetcar and a road through Vanier Park.

“Mainly I wanted to know what was going on with the roads,” said resident Diane Seear. “I’d like (the city) just be more engaged with us, we live here as well. I’m fine with the development but I think we should have some say.”

Final details and financing for the project are “still being worked out” which could change the shape of many aspects of the development. Construction on phase one is set to begin in the summer but a start date has not been announced. The Squamish nation said those details will be provided “in the coming weeks.”