The City of Fort St. John and Doig River First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday to guide the development and servicing of Doig’s land holdings within the city.
Doig River has been buying up land parcels with plans to convert them to reserve status and develop a mix of residential and commercial projects. The MOU is a step toward a future agreement that will outline how land uses will be planned, how bylaws will be developed and enforced, and how water, sewer, and fire and police protection services will be paid for in lieu of property taxes.
“Doig River is pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Fort St. John for municipal services,” Chief Trevor Makadahay said.
“We value the leadership taken by the City of Fort St. John in building strong partnerships and relationships with our Nation that will improve the overall economic stability of Fort St. John and the quality of life for our membership and the residents within the City.”
Doig spent more than $10 million to pick up seven parcels in and around Fort St. John in tandem with its ongoing treaty land entitlement claim. Makadahay said in 2018 that developing the lands will help to integrate Doig into the city's economy.
Most ambitious are its plans to develop an eight-acre parcel across from Ma Murray school into a mixed-use hub that could see a gas station, office and retail complexes, and new apartments.
Doig also has three parcels covering 330 acres in the Old Fort area, and hopes to turn two three-acre parcels of light industrial laydown yards off the Old Fort Road into new office buildings.
The City says the the MOU will allow for a "seamless integration" of the lands.
“This Memorandum of Understanding continues building on our relationship with our First Nation neighbours and ensures we continue to work towards our shared goals," Mayor Lori Ackerman said.
"I am very pleased with the work done by our respective Councils and staff to bring us to this point through understanding and learning. We are eager to see these future developments enhancing our community and providing local economic opportunities."
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