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This article was published 12/7/2019 (325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Construction has started on a piece of land owned by Waywayseecappo First Nation just outside Brandon city limits.
It is currently unknown what will be built at the location, but Elton Reeve Ross Farley told The Sun that the plan at one point was to build a gas station and convenience store.
The piece of land is located in the Rural Municipality of Elton along Highway 10 north of the Trans-Canada Highway and south of the Brandon Municipal Airport. A large sign is visible when travelling south on Highway 10 toward Brandon saying that the land is owned by Waywayseecappo.
The First Nation is looking to get the land designated as a reserve and is waiting for a federal order-in-council to make it official.
The process dictates that the First Nation would transfer ownership of the land to the federal government, which would then set it aside as a reserve.
However, while that application is in the works, Waywayseecappo and Elton came to an agreement on a waiver on May 27 of this year that allows the First Nation to treat the land like it already had reserve status.
"Elton is prepared to allow the First Nation to proceed with certain developments on the land prior to it being granted reserve status, and without Brandon & Area Planning District permits, provided the First Nation executes a Release and Waiver in favour of Elton," reads a copy of the waiver provided to The Sun by the RM of Elton.
In a Municipal Development and Services Agreement signed between the two parties in 2017 regarding that land, the permitted types of businesses include convenience stores, service stations, truck stop, local government offices, restaurants and gaming facility.
This same agreement has the First Nation paying Elton a fee in lieu of property taxes once it become a reserve in exchange for being provided with municipal services. Elton council voted to approve the agreement 5-0 at the time.
In 2008, Rolling River, Waywayseecappo and Keeseekoowenin First Nations purchased this land as a consortium with the aim of building a casino. The province granted permission, but negotiations at the time derailed because of a dispute with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs regarding profit-sharing.
It is unknown if Rolling River and Keeseekoowenin still have stakes in the land. Requests for comment made to chiefs for both nations on Monday were not returned by press time on Thursday.
Waywayseecappo chief Murray Clearsky declined comment at present, but agreed to speak to The Sun about the land in question on July 17.
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