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Musqueam land fight heats up 0

By Jill Bennett, 24 Hours Vancouver

Demonstrators and Musqueam First Nation protesters block commuters from Granville Street on-ramp to the Arthur Laing Bridge Thursday. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Demonstrators and Musqueam First Nation protesters block commuters from Granville Street on-ramp to the Arthur Laing Bridge Thursday. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Musqueam First Nation members and their supporters blocked traffic on the Vancouver side of the Arthur Laing Bridge Thursday morning, snarling other routes in a fight against a condo development being planned on an ancient burial ground.

The owners of the land, the Marpole Midden, in South Vancouver have been approved to build a $40 million, 108-unit condo project. Human bones from a 4,000-year-old burial site were found during an archaeological assessment in January in the 1300 block of Southwest Marine Drive.

Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell said Victoria issued the development permit and is now asking the province to stop it. Protesters have been calling for a meeting with Premier Christy Clark for weeks.

The band is suggesting a land swap deal to preserve the Marpole site and allow the development elsewhere. Campbell said both sides are interested in the swap but it would still need provincial approval.

The land, owned by Fran and Gary Hackett for around 50 years, was declared a national historical site in 1933. Its preservation has attracted such high-profile supporters as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and former Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick.


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