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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bert Brink Wildlife Management Area was the site of illegally dumped drywall reported on April 19, 2021. (Michael Hill photo)
Another cache of dumped drywall in Chilliwack prompts suggestion to block access

Pile of drywall likely asbestos containing discarded in wildlife management area

Malcolm Duvivier and the Fraser Valley Bandits are now scheduled to return to the court inside the Abbotsford Centre on June 26. (File photo)
Fraser Valley Bandits season opener postponed to June 24

Canadian Elite Basketball League pushes back 2021 season due to COVID-19

Kids and adults test out Chilliwack’s new pump track the day it opened on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack moms looking for solutions to bad behaviour at new pump track

From bullying and swearing to drugs and violence, mothers of young kids have had enough

A crucial vote on May 1 will have major implications for the governance of football and other high school sports in B.C. (Eric J. Welsh/Chilliwack Progress)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Da Vinci Experience is scheduled to open at Tsawwassen Mills (5000 Canoe Pass Way) in June, with early bird tickets for shows July 15 to Aug. 15 on sale now. (Submitted photo)
‘Immersive art experience’ in Tsawwassen to showcase work of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Da Vinci Experience to open at Tsawwassen Mills in June, early-bird tickets on sale now

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

Man gunned down Wednesday morning outside of Langley Sportsplex at 91a Ave and 200 Street. (Shane MacKicha/Special to The Star)
VIDEO: IHIT investigating fatal shooting near Langley Sportsplex

91A Avenue at 200th Street is closed to the public as investigation continues

Most Read