One of the most important projects that has ever been undertaken by Long Lake #58 First Nation is coming to a close. On August 28 2013 the Government of Canada provided the First Nation with written confirmation that they will be providing $621,000 in funding to allow the First Nation to acquire 4,366.81 acres of land from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to be eventually set apart as reserve land for the use and benefit of the members of our First Nation.
This process was started in 2005 and the process to purchase and set apart the land will begin shortly and should be completed by 2016. This process involves a number of steps to complete and we are working our way through each step:
Establish a corporation to act as a bare trust and agent for the First Nation to purchase the land from the MNR;
Meet the requirements of the environmental report; and
Complete the steps outlined in the Additions-to-Reserve policy and as agreed to with Canada
Over the next couple of months our team will be working with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to finalize the approach and steps to setting apart these lands as reserve lands. Our critical path will be agreed to by both senior levels of government and will set the stage for the setting apart of these lands.
The land should be set apart as reserve land and we can make use of it likely by 2020 given the steps that need to be completed by both levels of government to remove restrictions and get ministerial documents signed.
With the land in the possession of the First Nation through its bare trust, we expect that those lands will be available for use by the First Nation. However, Chief and Council are committed to undertaking a land use plan for the lands to be added to the reserve and they would like to do this while the formal process continues. Chief and Council will make a funding application later this year to support their land use plan and they hope to complete the plan at the same time as the land is set apart as reserve land in 2016.