The City of North Battleford has joined together with Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs to form what is called the First Nations Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (Cando).
The resolution formalizing the joint initiative passed at council’s Dec. 12 meeting, the last one of the year.
The initiative is one delivered jointly across Canada by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers.
The North Battleford application was one of 10 chosen across Canada, beating out more than 80 applications in the last intake. The goal of the initiative is to improve the joint prosperity of municipalities and the adjacent First Nations.
The City has previously met with representatives from Cando and FCM, who provided information, and a workshop in a two-day session Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
At council Dec. 12, Director of Planning and Development Jennifer Niesink explained this was a three-to-five year program looking for joint economic ventures.
Earlier in the day Niesink as well as councillors Kent Lindgren and Kevin Steinborn attended the BATC meeting where they passed a similar resolution.
Appearing at council Dec. 12, Neil Sasakamoose, executive director with BATC, welcomed the chance to build a stronger relationship with the City of North Battleford.
“There’s a way to go yet, I think, for both sides,” said Sasakamoose. “You can tell there’s large gaps in the system.”
It will be a working group and Sasakamoose indicated it will be an opportunity for both sides to air out some long-standing grievances and be able to move forward in a positive direction.
“Best-case scenario, we’re going to get a lot of stuff off our chest, I think” said Sasakamoose. “A better-case scenario is you’ll have an economic engine between the City and First Nations, and a common goal.”
Lindgren called the partnership a “really great step forward” adding “we have a long way to go, but this is a really great start.”