I was not surprised at all to see that the Tsuu Tina people have voted against the proposed land deal that would have allowed the City/Province to complete a much needed "ring road" around the SW portion of the city. I had talked about this in a previous post and really feel that the Band has no reason to make any deals with the province.
Chief Sandford Big Plume responded that the deal was " more than a simple economic transaction for us" and that "we consider our land to be a sacred trust". AS I said before, it is their land and they have the right to choose what they want to do with it. That said, I think that they have made a serious financial error by rejecting this offer.
Earlier this year, Chief Big Plume confirmed that the deal has to make economic sense. His quote is as follows: "Being so close to a major urban centre, we have to understand — and we gotta think 100, 120 years from now — where this nation will be and what kind of foundation this is going to leave. What kind of footprint it's going to leave for them. And in today's society, it's all economics, it's all fiscal responsibility, so we want to ensure that we leave a strong economic base for them." So, is it more than a simple economic transaction or not?
The money that the province would have provided could have been used to improve the housing situation on the reserve. ( Oh wait, I forgot that the Casino funds will eventually do that). The off ramp sites could have provided some excellent commercial development for the band, which could have generated even more long term funds for them. But again, it is not about money I guess?
I hope that the City/Province move onto other plans now and close the negotiation with the Tsuu Tina on this matter. Take the $200+ Million dollars and use it on another option. Once ( and if) we ever get the ring road built, I hope the plans call for a bridge over the entrance to the Grey Eagle Casino and the proposed Office/Retail Park they are planning on the "Black Bear Crossing" site. By doing this, we can avoid having Calgarian's vehicles enter onto their "Sacred Land Trust" and continue to respect the Band's wishes.
The Tsuu Tina people have spoken, so lets move on.