Over the past 20 years, the City of Saskatoon and a number of First Nations have partnered to create urban reserves within the boundaries of Saskatoon. The City of Saskatoon recognizes that urban reserves are tremendous economic, social, and cultural development opportunities that benefit the entire community including First Nations and non-First Nations people.
First Nations are purchasing land in the Saskatoon region to create new reserves or add to existing reserves through two processes: the Federal Government’s additions to Reserves Policy for specific claims (begun in the 1970s) and the Canada-Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Framework Agreement for TLE claims (signed in 1992).
The City of Saskatoon’s Strategic Plan has set the tone for how the City has approached urban reserves. In 1993, a key part of the City’s Strategic Plan was to build and strengthen relationships and explore partnership opportunities with the Aboriginal community. The current Strategic Plan and Corporate Business Plan continue to support this and also state that the City of Saskatoon will “nurture the economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being of the community, now and in the future.”
Before an urban reserve is created, the City and the First Nation sign municipal services, land use compatibility, and protocol agreements. The City of Saskatoon’s agreements with First Nations provide for all municipal services (police, fire, snow removal, water/sewer) in exchange for a fee-for-service. The fee-for-service is calculated in the same way as property taxes and is equal to the amount that would be billed for municipal and library taxes. First Nations also enter into separate agreements with the school boards for the education portion of the standard property tax levy. First Nations ensure, through their bylaws and leases, that urban reserves have the same compatible land use, zoning standards, building standards, and business regulations as those on surrounding properties.