With First Nation urban development areas emerging as successful aboriginal economic generators across western Canada, the City of Brandon is working to ensure that any First Nation that wishes to pursue development opportunities within the municipality’s borders are greeted with open doors and set on a path to economic success.
Through an established federal process, any First Nation which has successfully acquired land in an urban centre can apply for reserve status on that land, approval of which then allows it to move forward with the creation of a First Nation urban development area. Such development areas have grown to be a popular option for aboriginal business development across Canada in recent years, particularly in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Anticipating the strong likelihood of such future developments in Brandon, city council and administration have begun the groundwork and planning needed to better understand the role a municipality plays in the establishment of such areas.
“As one of Brandon city council’s 10 strategic priorities focuses on community and social inclusion, we recognize the potential that these First Nation urban development areas hold for our aboriginal community and we welcome the opportunity,” said Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest in a release. “We know that the appetite for these types of aboriginal economic development areas is out there, so our priority right now is to ensure we, along with the community, understand the role a municipality plays in the success of First Nation urban development areas.”
Chrest adds that interest in Brandon shown by First Nation groups has spurred City administration to publish a series of informational documents on its website, and to begin researching best practices for municipal service development agreements, which are the legal mechanism used to set out the expectations for development and municipal service delivery for the identified lands.
Chrest notes that another important piece to the City’s work to understand First Nation urban development areas has been a partnership with the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council to offer in-depth training on Indigenous awareness to key stakeholders who would play a role in such potential partnerships.
The City of Brandon’s support is also in alignment with a Memorandum of Understanding on aboriginal economic success signed by the two parties earlier this summer.
More information about First Nation Urban Development Areas can be found on the City of Brandon website at www.brandon.ca.
With files from release