Kapawe’no wants county properties

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Kapawe’no First Nation has the backing of Big Lakes County in an effort to acquire vacant property in Grouard owned by the provincial government.
At its regular meeting Jan. 12, council approved a request to forward a letter of support for Kapawe’no to acquire three lots currently owned by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.
A draft letter signed by Reeve Robert Nygaard was approved in response to a request from Chief Sydney Halcrow.
CAO Jordan Panasiuk says when an individual or organization wants to acquire provincial government land, they simply follow a process to apply for the land.
“Council of Big Lakes County is pleased to provide this letter to Kapawe’no First Nation in support of the efforts of chief and council to acquire lands which you refer to as the ‘Queen’s Lots’ east of the Grouard Bridge in Grouard,” states the letter.
“Council agrees that these lots would better serve the residents of Kapawe’no First Nation, the community of Grouard and the public at large by being transferred to the First Nation for future tourism development.
“Big Lakes County fully support Kapawe’no in its endeavours to create tourism opportunities and cultural awareness within Grouard.”
Halcrow and council members discussed the land as a delegation at the Big Lakes council meeting Dec. 8.
Kapawe’no has a vision to acquire the properties to develop an interpretive centre, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.
She notes the department of Culture and Community Spirit no longer exists.
Now the property is owned by Alberta Culture and Status of Women.
“The provincial government no has future plans for these lands,” Olansky says.
She believes a letter from Big Lakes would be a big step to convince the government about Kapawe’no’s proposal.
“It shows support for our First Nation neighbour and increases the First Nation’s chances of acquiring the land,” Olansky says.
“The land would be better utilized by the First Nation than the provincial government.

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