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Thursday , 15 April 2021

Lakeland Métis Settlements sign one-time pay out on ID349 funds

With this announcement, the provincial government will no longer be involved in distributing ID349 money, with the Improvement District dissolving into the M.D. of Bonnyville.

Two Lakeland Métis Settlements have been given provincial dollars for being phased out from the ID349 deal.

Fishing Lake Métis Settlement and Elizabeth Métis Settlement will receive $3.5 million each in a one time pay out on Improvement District No. 349.

They are involved in the arrangement in 2017 and 2018, but earlier this year were removed from the deal because tax revenues cannot be flowed to Métis Settlements from ID349, government officials said.

Previously, tax revenues from oil and gas properties in the ID flowed through the Town of Bonnyville from the province to Fishing Lake and Elizabeth.

“It came from a lot of hard work by a Minister Allard and Minister Wilson that came to a compromise and had meetings with the leadership from the Settlements and came up with a deal. I think it’s great, three and a half million each,” said MLA David Hanson on The Alberta Legislature on Monday.

Under the new arrangement, the land that encompasses the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in ID349 will go into the M.D. of Bonnyville and tax revenues from the ID properties will be distributed on a per capital basis between the City of Cold Lake, Town of Bonnyville, M.D. of Bonnyville, and Village of Glendon.

The deal cannot be changed unless all four parties agree.

This money will go towards critical infrastructure in the communities.

“We thank the Government of Alberta for taking this significant step in recognizing the important role Métis Settlements play in Alberta’s social and economic fabric,” said Karen Telford, chair of Fishing Lake Métis Settlement.

“For generations, the lands under ID349 were vital to our community’s prosperity. This one-time payment will help with much-needed infrastructure and economic development projects. We trust the spirit of this agreement will open the door to future agreements that better respect the enduring and mutually beneficial relationship that Albertans and Metis people have had for generations.”

The deal is still subject to final approval from cabinet.

The City of Cold Lake will get $15,374,526, the Town of Bonnyville will receive $6,884,881, the M.D. of Bonnyville will be given $2,200,000, and the Village of Glendon will receive $990,150 for the 2020 year.

“Elizabeth Métis Settlement is pleased that the Government of Alberta will provide $3.5 million dollars towards addressing some of the infrastructure needs within our community. Elizabeth believes that addressing infrastructure deficiencies in a collaborative manner will create a stronger Alberta where all citizens are provided with adequate services,” said Irene Zimmer, chair of Elizabeth Métis Settlement.

“Elizabeth looks forward to a continued productive relationship with the Province. We want to thank Minister Allard and Minister Wilson for their leadership in arriving at this solution.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.