Gambler First Nation’s urban reserve being developed on 18th Street North in Brandon will soon have a gas bar.
Heritage Co-op has reached a deal with the First Nation to develop a gas bar on the property.
The gas bar will be the first under Federated Co-operatives Ltd.’s new Western Nations brand, which is being developed in partnership with Indigenous communities.
While most of the gas bars under the brand will be Indigenous-owned and operated, Heritage Co-op general manager Dennis Laing told the Sun on Thursday that Gambler and his organization have come to an agreement for the location to be run by Heritage Co-op.
Though Laing has only been in his position for four weeks, he said it was his understanding that conversations between Heritage Co-op and Gambler started approximately three years ago.
"We’re very excited about entering this strategic partnership for a few different reasons," Laing said. "First and foremost, it will be mutually beneficial for both parties. It will allow Gambler to own a business in the City of Brandon and create some long-term sustainability for the members of their community."
According to Laing, it will be the first Western Nations gas bar in Manitoba. The first to open in Canada is located in Saskatchewan.
Ground broke on the urban reserve in May 2019, but the process of creating the urban reserve got its start in 2017 when the City of Brandon and Gambler First Nation entered into a municipal development and service agreement.
A minor scandal emerged when design documents for proposed developments on the site showed a gaming centre alongside a planned hotel. At the time, Mayor Rick Chrest said the city had never spoken to Gambler about a casino being developed within the city.
It turned out that an early rendering of the site from much earlier in the development process had been sent out by mistake.
In February 2020, the First Nation narrowly passed a referendum on pursuing development on the site by a margin of 72 votes for to 70 votes against. The federal government later upheld the results of the referendum after a five-month investigation.
The location is expected to open by the end of this year.
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