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Doig River, PRRD craft MOU on reserve additions

New memorandum of understanding focused on land use 

Work is underway to develop a new memorandum of understanding between the Peace River Regional District and Doig River First Nation on new urban reserve land near Old Fort.

According to a July 11 press release from the PRRD, Doig acquired several fee simple properties within the regional district that are in the process of being converted to reserve status. The two groups met in May to learn about each other's governance structures, service delivery models and bylaws relating to land use.   

The MOU is expected to guide how they will work together on developing those lands within the regional district boundary and set direction for the establishment of any service agreements.  

“Future activities on these lands within the PRRD will encompass a range of developments that will strengthen the socio-economic status of DRFN and the greater B.C. Peace region,” the PRRD stated in its release.  

The land acquired are two agricultural parcels near Old Fort, a historically significant area for Doig River, says band manager Shona Nelson, who noted trade routes once existed there. Doig purchased the 300-plus acres in 2016-17 for the purposes of economic development and cultural tourism.

"We take our elders out there because there's historical significance to Old Fort," said Nelson. "They were all along the river valley, there's some archaeological sites on one of the properties, and they traded along the Peace River. There's a lot of great stories." 

Nelson says the MOU is similar in many respects to one signed with the City of Fort St. John for Naache Commons, Doig’s urban development plans across from Ma Murray school.

"We're essentially going through the same process we did with the city," said Nelson.

Doig formally celebrated Naache Commons during a ceremony on National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21. Proposals there call for are for a mixed-use hub that could see a gas station, office and retail complexes, and new apartments being built.

The city and Doig River signed a memorandum of understanding in 2020 to guide the development and servicing of the land, and formally signed a service agreement in 2021.

— with files from Matt Preprost, Tom Summer

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