Jericho Will Be Loved by 7 Generations. We Also Need It Now


Your support is needed to bring the MST Nations plan for ʔəy̓alməxʷ/Iy̓álmexw (Ee-’YUL-mough), AKA the Jericho Lands, to fruition. Fill out the City's engagement survey here by July 15. We recommend:

  • "really like it" for all answers (even if you want to see more, as lesser support will be interpreted as wanting less).
  • Question 9: Mention that the single-family area on the South side of 8th Ave should be rezoned for apartments; buildings on the Jericho site should not have to "transition" to detached houses so close to a SkyTrain station. More housing and amenities should be allowed at Jericho than what is proposed.
  • Question 13: Something like "This plan is an inspired vision that addresses the urgent need to build more housing in complete, active, vibrant neighbourhoods. Please expedite this and the SkyTrain extension so that it can be built ASAP." "I want to live here"
  • Say whatever else you think, but don't forget to mention what you like! It will be a very green, open site that is permeable to pedestrians and active transit. Underground parking will likely be accessed at the perimeter, limiting traffic and providing a much better pedestrian experience.

See further resources at the end of this post.

What are the Jericho Lands? What is the Plan?

Overhead View of Jericho Site Area

ʔəy҆alməxʷ/Iy҆álmexw/Jericho Lands has always been a place of arrival and kinship. Before colonization, we welcomed people here for trade, bartering, and gathering. Welcome figures stood at places of arrival, while house posts at the entrances of homes told visitors which families lived here.

Even though our ancestors were forced to leave, ʔəy᾽ alməxʷ/Iy᾽ álmexw/Jericho Lands will be a place that welcomes all. We are resilient. The neighbourhood will let people know that this is our land, and we are here to share it with others. [page 43 of info boards PDF]

The Jericho Lands are 90 acres of lightly-developed land in the West Point Grey neighbourhood, between Downtown and UBC, with easy access to the growing jobs centre on Broadway. The site concept (PDF) is to create a vibrant new SkyTrain-oriented community with 13,000 homes, lots of open space, and good connectivity for pedestrians and active transport users, complete with park space, public school, supermarket, retail, jobs space, and even a hotel. It will be welcoming to all and be a low-carbon community and Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh "symbols, patterns, artwork, and language would be
embedded throughout all aspects of the neighbourhood."

Is This Plan High Density?

It depends how one calculates it, but comparisons to larger neighbourhoods like Downtown and the West End are misleading. This site is smaller, only a few short blocks wide, bound by arterial streets, and adjacent to a giant park (Jericho Beach Park) on its long side.

Another big difference is how space on the site is used. One third of the land site will be reserved for parks and other open spaces; that is, more space for people. This is partly possible because of the use of towers, but also because of what the space is not reserved for...

Section View of Cultural Greenway

If you have ever been to an open house for an apartment building, you have likely heard one of two complaints: there is either not enough parking, or the parking will create traffic. Density of people is typically not a salient problem, as demonstrated by the many rather quiet streets in the West End. Unlike most new developments since the popularization of car-ownership, the concept for ʔəy᾽ alməxʷ prioritizes people over cars. While there will still be surface streets for deliveries and accessibility, this is not your typical Vancouver high-rise development that is crisscrossed by busy arterial streets. Therefore, while the area will certainly be more vibrant with a persons/hectare density that is higher than elsewhere in Vancouver, we believe it could support many more homes given the lack of nuisances (car noise, noxious industries) and parking lots, and its close proximity parks, jobs, and other amenities, and its forward-thinking, connected urban design.

And the larger neighbourhood needs more people: local businesses are closing up as stagnant zoning has pushed out West Point Grey's children and the population slowly declines. Even adding 24,000 residents at Jericho, the upper limit of estimates at complete build-out over the next 30 years, would only push WPG's overall population density moderately higher than the City of Vancouver was, on average, in 2016.

West Point Grey Population density is one of the lowest in Vancouver

What Are the Problems with the Concept?

There are not many!

There are very few problems we see with the concept itself. Looking at the bigger picture though, one problem is that the build-out of this site, to some extent, will depend on completion of the Broadway SkyTrain line, at least as far as West Point Grey but presumably all the way to UBC, which requires commitments and action from multiple levels of government. It is envisioned to take 30 years. But Vancouver is in a housing crisis right now. The City must push to expedite approval and construction of the SkyTrain extension, which will also greatly improve access to UBC for the entire region. Building this community—and other transit-oriented communities—faster will better help address our terrible housing shortage sooner rather than later.

Proposed SkyTrain Stations for UBCx

Another problem is that the site design "transitions" to the neighbouring detached houses on 8th Avenue; which is to say, the buildings in the site concept get shorter near 8th Ave. But this is not thinking 30 years ahead, let alone 7 generations. It should be out of the question to zone for large detached houses, $4 million+ mansions, a stone's throw from two SkyTrain stations. The City should initiate a plan for nearby blocks instead of restricting the size of buildings at Iy᾽álmexw, or, at the very least, assume a reasonable minimum density in the future.

Make sure you have your say: FILL OUT THE SHORT SURVEY.

Further Reading:

Daily Hive: Unlocking the potential of Jericho Lands is an Indigenous-led step toward solving our shared housing crisis

Georgia Straight: Over 13,000 new homes planned for Jericho Lands

Daily Hive: Jericho Lands development proposal now even more ambitious (RENDERINGS)

More Housing Blog: Jericho Update

Jericho Plan on City Website

Inspire Jericho - Proponent's website