07/28/2015 10:00 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Jericho Lands sale prompts calls for more public consultation

Community groups and residents, who are concerned about the sale of the Jericho Lands, aren't having much input into how the coveted land parcel will be be distributed, claims an NDP MLA.

David Eby says Amrik Virk, the minister responsible for the land sale, confirmed in a recent letter that the province won't consult interested residents and stakeholders before it disposes of the land.

Eby, who is the MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, where the land sits, said he'd love to see affordable housing on the site, which is one of the most valuable parcels of land in the province. Others are keen to have their say too. About 200 community members have been asking for input, he said.

Province in talks with First Nations

Eby says he received a letter on Monday that shows the province is in talks with First Nations groups to sell the land and and won't consult with the public until that process winds up.

"We intend to allows those discussions to conclude prior to taking any further actions with regards to the future of the lands," said the letter, signed by Virk.

Eby said the letter was frustrating because there are so many possibilities for the land and public consultations are an ideal way to brainstorm about them.

A Canadian Forces garrison currently occupies the site.

"They would consider disposing of the land to First Nations before talking to the community and they don't see a provincial obligation to consult with the community before selling, which is incredibly frustrating for us."

The letter says that the province will consult eventually, but only after the land is sold and development is proposed.

Right now, the sprawling property includes a mix of trees, historic buildings, a military base and a childcare facility.

It was managed by the Department of National Defence (DND) for decades, but has now been declared surplus land and was approved for sale to the Canada Lands Company for "strategic disposal."