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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Musqueam isn’t Celebrating

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Cut and Paste from a Press Release

Musqueam isn’t celebrating with BC regarding George Massey Tunnel Removal and Bridge Project

For Immediate Release

Thurs. April 6, 2017

Musqueam Territory, Vancouver, BC – Canada.  Yesterday the BC government announced the  construction of a bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel (GMT). The project lies in the heart of Musqueam territory and the BC government has not received consent from Musqueam to proceed. It is in an area that has been occupied by Musqueam since time immemorial.  GMT is surrounded by heritage sites, and other culturally important sites, including fishing areas in the Lower Fraser River that Musqueam has Aboriginal rights to fish, which are protected by the Canadian Constitution after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling (R. v Sparrow, 1992).


Chief Wayne Sparrow stated, “Musqueam has not been meaningfully consulted nor accommodated for the GMT project. This project is in the core of our exclusive territory and the Provincial and Federal government have not received Musqueam’s consent.”


The GMT project will involve the construction of a 10-lane bridge, and the removal of the tunnel. The tunnel removal will add to the negative cumulative effects in Musqueam’s territorial waters in the Fraser River. BC and Canada have not considered these effects as they continue to approve projects like this without meaningfully consulting, accommodating and compensating Musqueam for these cumulative impacts.


“Musqueam will not stand for the continued degradation of our lands and waters.  The BC and Canadian government have much work to do with us to ensure the GMT project can proceed according to Musqueam conditions”, said Chief Sparrow.  He added, “Musqueam is leading in areas of stewardship and management in our territory, and will raise the bar on all future projects in Musqueam territory.  We are not against development, but it must be done in ways that include Musqueam values, and ensures the protection of our rights.”


Musqueam has cultural sites all around the project and in the Lower Fraser River that provide evidence of Musqueam exclusive use and occupancy, thousands of years before Canadian Confederation.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

2 Responses

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  1. However, the Tsawwassen First Nation supports the bridge proposal as it will enable them in their “sustainable and vibrant economic future” (


    April 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

  2. This only goes to show that First Nations do not speak with one voice even if historical territories overlap. Also note the dramatic differences between the development projects either is involved in. On one side you have clearly sustainable transit-accessed urban development in Vancouver involving three FNs and the federal Canada Lands Company, and the other a car-centric mega mall and industrial property under agreement with the province.

    The requirement to consult all First Nations with territorial history in an area of development was enshrined in the 1997 Delgamuukw Supreme Court decision, which was reinforced by the more recent Tsilhqot’in decision in 2014. Christy failed to adequately consult the Musqueam, and the Massey mega bridge could get held up in court for a long time.

    Alex Botta

    April 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

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