Paving way for development

Will include urban reserve component

Yorkton Council took two steps Monday toward the establishment of a new development in the city.

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The first step was to approve the introduction and to set up the public notification process for a Concept Plan for Cowessess Flood Claim Holdings Inc.

The plan was prepared by V3 Companies of Canada, for lands owned by Cowessess Flood Claim Holdings Inc., explained Michael Eger Director of Planning, Building & Development with the City at the meeting.

“The lands are located in the Yellowhead commercial subdivision, which is located next to Walmart,” he said.

“In January of 2019, City Council approved a subdivision application in advance of the Concept Plan in order to allow Cowessess to proceed with a Federal Reserve-status application. The Concept Plan has undergone due process and is now proposed for public notification before Council considers adoption at the July 8th meeting.

“The Concept Plans form part of the Official Community Plan, and provide a more detailed guide for the development of a specific portion of lands. Moreover, the Concept Plan investigates local physical, environmental, financial and social factors before creating an outline for future land use, parcel configuration, street network and municipal utilities within the affected area. Depending on the nature of the development, additional subdivision, Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments may be required, provided they align with the Concept Plan.”

The plan is one City Administration was satisfied with.

“Cowessess, in conjunction with their team of professional consultants, have worked closely with City officials throughout the Concept Plan process,” said Eger.

“There are five phases of proposed development, starting with a gas station and office buildings at the northwest corner of the site. It then proposes residential development along Lawrence Avenue in Phase 2, before more generally outlining additional phases for commercial/retail and outdoor entertainment. Site work for Phase 1 is set for summer of this year, with additional Phases occurring as the market demands.

“Administration is confident that the Concept Plan adequately considers the relevant factors relating to the protection of the City’s underground aquifers, current and future road networks, pedestrian connectivity, water and sewer services, fire protection and storm water management. The Concept Plan additionally identifies the need to address the lack of access to local parks with onsite park creation in part of the residential phase which is Phase 2.”

The adoption or amendment of a Concept Plan requires public notice under The Planning and Development Act, 2007. Notice will include advertisement in the local paper, at City Hall and on the City website, and a direct mail out to property owners within 75m (250 ft.) of the subject lands.

Council approval was unanimous.

In connection with the same project, part of the 11-acre parcel is being proposed as an urban reserve.

In 2010, Cowessess FN purchased land in the City of Yorkton and has plans for a gas station and potential office building site. The Cowessess FN intends to apply for Federally-designated Urban Reserve status on a portion of this land. In order for this to be granted, an agreement must be in place between the First Nation and the municipality to cover:  

*Tax compensation (Reserve land and improvements are not subject to municipal and school taxation) The municipality can ask for compensation for loss of property taxes, loss of grants in lieu from senior government agencies, loss of license fees, levies, and permit fees for development on lands.

*Compatible bylaws (once declared reserve status, municipal bylaws are no longer in effect, but under The Indian Act, First Nations may pass bylaws of their own). Compatible rules serve to protect both parties from potentially dangerous or nuisance situations, and enhances cooperation and understanding between the parties.

*Methods of dispute resolution, which can include resolution at levels of conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.

The City of Yorkton has been working towards negotiating this agreement at length, and have made many revisions to the initial draft. These were reviewed by the City’s solicitor and the Band’s solicitor, explained Lonnie Kaal City Manager, with the City.

At the January 21, 2019 Regular Council Meeting, Council approved an application from the Cowessess FN to subdivide the subject land, and name a new roadway after the Cowessess Treaty Four Signatory Chief Kwîwinžance. To quote the report from January, “He was Saulteaux and the meaning of his name translated to “small boy”/”little child”. In 1886, surveyors approximated the spelling of the Chief’s name to Cowessess, which formed the Nation’s namesake and is the thusly translated to mean “little child”. The street contained on Parcel G, was also approved “Little Child Way” by Council at this meeting.

Again Council was unanimous in supporting the service agreement.

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