From left, Kevin Kelly, Chief Marilyn Gabriel, and Michael Kelly-Gabriel sang an honour song at Langley Township’s council meeting June 12, after council voted to give a parcel of land to the local first nation. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Kwantlen chief celebrates return of land from Langley Township

The land was designated for parkland, but was never developed by the Township.

An emotional Chief Marilyn Gabriel thanked Langley Township council for working to return a piece of municipal land to the Kwantlen First Nation.

“It’s a really emotional day for our people, to have this parcel returned,” said Gabriel. Her late father, Chief Joseph Gabriel, had gone to court over the land in the past.

“I have to say, I didn’t think I would see this in my lifetime,” Gabriel said. “But we live in a beautiful community, where we can all work together.”

The land is 3.7 acres on the east side of Glover Road on Brae Island, adjacent to the main Kwantlen reserve. Although it is dedicated for park use, it has never been developed into a park and the Township had no plans to do so.

It will be transfered to Seyem Qwantlen Land Development Ltd.

“I really think this is a great outcome,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.

Gabriel said that after years of struggling, the next generation won’t have to fight for this land.

Gabriel, her husband Kevin Kelly, and their son Michael Kelly-Gabriel sang an honour song to the assembled council members and audience.