Feds, Treaty One First Nations reach agreement in principle
Scott Billeck - Winnipeg Sun
Winnipeggers can expect a “world-class” urban reserve where Kapyong Barracks currently stands after an agreement in principle between Ottawa and Treaty 1 chiefs was signed on Wednesday.
The agreement, which was announced to a crowd of roughly 400 people at Assiniboine Downs, will be used to develop a final settlement agreement, which will include the terms for the sale and future use of the land where Kapyong Barracks sits.
“We’ll be able to look at a lot of opportunities for mixed-use … we’re looking at condo development, government, commercial space, arts, culture, Indigenous war museum, Indigenous cadet programs, green space, convention space, hotel space,” Long Plain First Nation chief Dennis Meeches said. “A lot can be done. I think, in some ways, it’s a billion dollar opportunity, or more.”
Kapyong, which sits on 160 acres and has 40 buildings on the base, was used by the Canadian Armed Forces until 2004, when Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry moved to the Canadian Forces base in Shilo. It has sat empty since then.
A series of court battles prevented development at the prime real estate along Kenaston Boulevard for several years before the consultations finally began. In 2008, Treaty One sued the federal government, arguing they had a right to be consulted on the land’s development.
Subsequent court action continued to prevent development until 2015, when then-prime minister Stephen Harper said his government wouldn’t appeal the latest ruling in Treaty One’s favour.
In the years since, Treaty One members have suggested a mixed-used urban reserve for the site, possibly with residences and business space.
Out of the 160 acres at the site near Kenaston Boulevard and Grant Avenue, 110 of those will be Treaty 1 while the other 50 will go to the Canada Lands Company.
Meeches said the land selection at Kapyong is done and they know which parcels of land they will receive when the final settlement agreement is made.
As far as purchase price goes, Meeches said he couldn’t disclose that. The agreement, he said, will remain confidential.
Meeches said the first order of business for Treaty 1 chiefs would be to invite the City of Winnipeg to meet with Treaty 1 and discuss (expanding) Kenaston.
Meeches said he hopes to hold immediate discussions with the city about the expansion.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Wednesday’s announcement shows that the federal government is serious about reconciliation.
“This is another step forward,” Sajjan said.
Sajjan said the 50 acres CLC will get in the deal will go through the “appropriate” processes before it’s decided what will developed.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre) said Wednesday’s announcement was a long-time coming.
Carr said those living near Kapyong who are apprehensive about an urban reserve in their neighbourhood will have every chance to meet with the developers, give good ideas together and ultimately have a development that respects Treaty 1 and those living in the area.
Carr has previously said he had hoped Kapyong would have been out of Ottawa’s hands by 2019, but wasn’t sure the timeline for the final settlement agreement.
Premier Brian Pallister was not at Wednesday’s announcement.