Kawacatoose First Nation and City of Moose Jaw sign Municipal Service Agreement for urban reserve
The Kawacatoose First Nation is now one step closer to having an official urban reserve within Moose Jaw city limits.
Kawacatoose First Nation (KFN) has owned and operated the KFN Market and Gas Bar on Caribou Street West in Moose Jaw since 2010.
They are currently paying full tax but a document signed Monday afternoon is the first step towards a property tax exemption. The document known as a Municipal Servicing Agreement states that KFN and the City of Moose Jaw have agreed that property taxes will not be due but fees-for-service will be.
Fees-for-service will include water and sewer, garbage collection, snow removal and municipal police services.
According to the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website, “education tax loss and service agreements with affected school divisions must also be negotiated by the First Nation.” They also point to including a mechanism for settling disputes.
The Municipal Servicing Agreement is the first of many steps which could take months or even years to complete. The title “urban reserve” is not official until the entire process is complete.
“I’m glad to say that our processes are done, so now it’s in [the federal governments] court and they need to finish off the declaration of it being an urban reserve and then the process will be complete,” Mayor of Moose Jaw Deb Higgins said.
When the entire process is complete, the KFN Market and Gas bar will technically be federal jurisdiction known as federal crown land or “Entitlement Reserve.”
Kawacatoose First Nation band office is located two hours north east of Moose Jaw, near Raymore, Sk.
Chief Dennis Dustyhorn said he is excited to continue their business in Moose Jaw. He also added that they chose the city because many urban reserves have placed themselves in large markets such as Regina or Saskatoon but KFN wanted to be different.
“Moose Jaw, we thought it was a nice city,” Chief Dustyhorn said.
According to Chief Dustyhorn, they are looking for both educational and economical benefits.
He said he viewed the market and gas bar as an opportunity to train and educate his people on different cultures and create jobs.
“It means working together, not just back home, but our people working with the people of Moose Jaw,” Chief Dustyhorn said.
“First Nations have always been a part of [Canadian] history, so to have this location in the city, owned by Kawacatoose, I just think it adds to the cultural activity,” Mayor Higgins added.
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