B.C. civic reps lobby Ottawa over satellite reserve risk

Metro, UBCM sound alarm on aboriginal land conversion

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin.

B.C. municipal representatives were in Ottawa Tuesday to hammer home their concerns over a draft federal policy that they fear may let new aboriginal reserves spring up in the midst of local cities.

The revised additions-to-reserve policy under consideration by the federal government would allow First Nations to propose creating new reserve land outside their traditional territories – a major change.

Representatives from the Union of B.C. Municipalities and Metro Vancouver told the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs they support the addition of new reserves that are adjacent to existing ones, but not land that’s non-contiguous or outside traditional territories.

Metro reps have before warned that the outcome could be satellite reserves – possibly established by faraway bands – that could be developed in contravention of local zoning and confound municipal planning.

“We raised that issue,” Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said, adding he’s hopeful federal officials may yet make changes to the draft policy before finalizing it.

Daykin noted land within a municipality that is converted to reserve status would no longer pay local property taxes or utility fees.

“If it becomes commercial or industrial, the municipality loses the ability to collect property tax on a high-valued piece of property,” he said.

The House of Commons committee asked Daykin if he supported First Nations ownership of fee simple land in his city, and he said absolutely.

Daykin noted the Kwantlen band obtained an old gravel pit from the province that it’s developing into housing, but noted it is subject to all municipal regulations and will pay taxes because it remains fee simple property.

“That’s fine and I hope they make a bunch of money.”

Other issues include utility servicing – if polluting effluent from reserve property is improperly dumped into the local sewer system, the municipality or the region have no recourse.

The B.C. delegation underscored that they want to see clearer rules for consulting cities and ultimately deciding whether a proposed reserve addition proceeds.

With Daykin was Prince George Coun. Murry Krause on behalf of UBCM and two senior administrators from Metro and UBCM.

Daykin said he believes the trip to physically speak to the committee was “well worth the effort” as its members appeared to take the B.C. concerns seriously.

The additions-to-reserve issue has been divisive at the Metro board.

Some mayors have raised the spectre of First Nations buying up and converting strategic land – possibly in downtown Vancouver – where businesses may then operate under looser rules and pay less in tax.

Concern has also been raised that additions-to-reserve could be used to develop farmland now locked in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Vancouver councillors have repeatedly said such fears are overblown and undermine efforts to establish productive relations with First Nations.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read