Province’s First Urban Reserve Paid Off Quickly

July 11, 2017 / BY / IN News

Manitoba’s first urban reserve is located on three acres next to Madison Street and St. Matthews Avenue in Winnipeg. Long Plain First Nation bought the property from Manitoba Hydro in 2005, and the property became an urban reserve in 2013. The land is about 100 kilometres from Long Plain’s home reserve, which is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Portage la Prairie.

Passersby will notice the Petro-Canada station and convenience store at 490 Madison St., which sells the highest volume of fuel of any independently-owned gas station in the city, according to Long Plain’s Arrowhead Development’s CEO Tim Daniels.

Through a partnership with Suncor Energy, the station opened in February 2015. Daniels said, while the station cost about $1.9 million to build, it has generated nearly $2 million since opening.

“In its first year, it’s paid for itself,” he said.

He said approximately two-thirds of the station’s staff are Long Plain FN members. But it’s not necessarily the employment opportunities that make the Madison Avenue reserve so valuable, it’s the money being earned through the gas station, the adjacent office building that houses Yellowquill College and other tenants and the five surrounding businesses that are now leasing their land from Long Plains FN. Doreen Beauchamp, director of Yellowquill College, said between 200 and 225 full- and part-time Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students attended the college in 2015-16.

Daniels said earnings are being used to improve the lives of the residents on the home reserve through road and infrastructure improvements. Homes are being constructed on a second reserve site just outside the City of Portage la Prairie. Daniels said Long Plain will help home buyers with financing in a similar manner to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and some units will be rented.

Arrowhead Development also has plans to build an $18-million five-storey office and conference centre on its urban reserve.

“It’s a one-year project,” Daniels said. “We want to be able to host conferences.”

Building is to begin later this year. Office space will be leased to First Nations that now have child and family services offices scattered across Winnipeg, Daniels said.

Another small section of land next to the Madison Street development was recently purchased.

“We’re not done on this Madison property,” Daniels said.

– Courtesy of Winnipeg Free Press