Sackville councillors hear about new Indigenous Reserve and commercial development near Aulac

Mayor Higham commenting on the proposed new Indigenous Reserve

The Town of Sackville has been asked to welcome a new neighbour after learning that the Fort Folly First Nation near Dorchester is requesting the creation of an Indigenous Reserve on the former CBC transmitter property near Aulac.

Councillors were told at their meeting on December 3rd that the new, 308 acre/124 hectare Reserve would be used for unspecified commercial development.

“Commercial development could be a number of things from retail, power generation, etc.,” said town manager Jamie Burke who was outlining the contents of a letter from a federal official with Indigenous Services Canada in Amherst.

The letter asks the town for any comments it may have about the proposed new Reserve and encourages local officials to take “a good neighbour approach” in dealing with First Nations.

“There is no clear understanding of what they wish to do with the land at this point,” Mayor Higham told council. “They just wish to get it into a Reserve status and then consider what those options might be,” he added.

Land purchase

A non-profit Mi’kmaq organization named Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn purchased the land from the CBC in 2017 for $50,000 and now the Fort Folly First Nation is seeking federal approval to operate it as a Reserve.

“We’re having somebody move into our neighbourhood,” said Councillor Bill Evans. “In terms of friendliness, I welcome this.”

But he added that the town isn’t in a position to say much more.

“As long as implicit in that welcoming statement, there isn’t a commitment to do anything other than interact in good faith, I’m all for it,” Evans said, adding, “but that’s all we’re really in a position to say right now, is it not?”

Municipal services

Mayor Higham, who operates a consulting business that serves First Nations clients, said if the land does become a Reserve, its development would not be subject to the provisions of New Brunswick’s planning laws.

“It has a different form of development opportunity and responsibility,” Higham said.

“Some of the services that they will probably need may have to come from us, particularly for emergency response, fire etc.” Higham noted. He added that the new Reserve may also need water and sewer services.

“The mayor said that typically in cases such as this, there would be a municipal services agreement negotiated between the town and the First Nation.

Meantime, the federal letter is asking the town for its comments on the proposed Reserve by February 1st.

So far, my calls to the Fort Folly First Nation have not been returned.

N.B. Property Assessment Map showing outline of property with Tantramar River (top) and TransCanada Hwy (bottom) The white CBC transmitter building is near centre-right.

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7 Responses to Sackville councillors hear about new Indigenous Reserve and commercial development near Aulac

  1. Tina Oh says:

    I hope council and the Sackville community welcomes the new neighbours with a warm and respectful welcome. Thanks for covering these stories as always Bruce!

  2. Louis says:

    Not being subject to Sackville By-Laws, they’ll probably manage to open a few successful drive-through businesses in there. It may well be a live demonstration of how zoning by-laws can be quite effective in displacing commerce to elsewhere!

  3. Rima Azar says:

    This story seems to come out of the blue. I wonder what our town is up to :).

    Why would someone want to have a new reserve in the middle of no-where in such a windy area to begin with? And why would this business development need to have a status of a new reserve attached to it? Or, maybe I do not get it: Would it be to live on the site too or just a business development?

    Perhaps it is a *clever* idea someone had to create new needs in order to generate opportunities that would justify an eligibility to grants or to avoid the hassle of some legalities, or to foster the need for services or consultations. Anyhow, maybe this would a wonderful move, even it seems odd at first?

    Mind you, I have always wanted to visit this place whilst driving on the highway. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to do so sometime soon to shop, eat, or simply to say “hello/welcome, new neighbours” :). This being said, it is our town governance that I have trouble trusting, not our neighbours.

  4. Dave Methot says:

    Well they are well situated for telecom services. You have to drive under f6networks international network to access current site. The largest free access fibre network in Canada and New Brunswick’s only privately held telecom company. They could join the likes of happy customers Mount A and Sackville Memorial Hospital.

  5. Windfarm: probably in the future for that space on the former CBC transmitter property… I noticed not long ago that Mayor Higham’s other job is a ‘consultant with natives’ .. so he could probably make this happen as a legacy project before he finishes up next year and is finally voted out.. I thought a casino at first .. but a green team would not want to pass up the opportunity to put some bird choppers in there with the right partnerships in place — funding just seems to flow .. it’s amazing really .. Fort Folly First Nations Windfarm .. eh? Of course this could easily be facilitated by the likes of the Tucz-Kings who already were trying to percolate something on the ridge into town .. it just seems like a win-win for the green cronyists who brought us the green multi-million dollar town hall back in 2012.. doesn’t it? Just my prediction..

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