In 2016, Fisher River Cree Nation (FRCN) obtained funding from INAC Lands and Economic Development for a three-year land use planning project. Our Land Use Plan will help us to guide short- and long-term development on our lands, and it will build on our 2010 Community Plan that has acted as our roadmap for development over the past seven years.
FRCN has contracted HTFC Planning and Design (HTFC) to work with us to help undertake the planning activities associated with this Plan. This is a continuation of the existing relationship in planning between FRCN and HTFC (formerly Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram).
The three-year community planning process will help Fisher River Cree Nation to achieve the following goals:
Develop a Land Use Plan to be used by FRCN to make decisions about short- and long-term land management.
Establish a strategy to assess FRCN lands to determine possible use of our Reserve land (for example, cultural and traditional use, public and recreational use, commercial development, new housing development, and other opportunities for uses of land and resources).
Support responsible planning through a community-driven approach. The community will be engaged at all levels and stages of the planning process. This will allow community members to participate and agree on appropriate use of FRCN’s land, water, and other resources.
Update the 2010 Fisher River Community Plan (also produced by a partnership of FRCN and HTFC) based on new development, population growth and current community priorities.
Pave the way for land use policies and by-laws to be developed in conjunction with the Fisher River Land Code. These policies and by-laws will serve to protect and enhance the usability of lands and water for community purposes.
In the first phase of the land use planning project, community members were identified to serve on the Plan Steering Committee and goals, timelines and deliverables for the planning process were determined. Background information and existing studies were gathered and analyzed; recent satellite imagery was acquired; and existing mapping was sourced and incorporated into a geographic information system (GIS).
The Land Use Plan Steering Committee began regular meetings in December 2016. The Steering Committee confirmed the project process and community engagement methods and reviewed background information gathered to date, analyses undertaken and mapping. Since that time, the Steering Committee has continued to provide direction to the process, as well as reviewing findings and materials and attending and supporting community engagement activities.
In January 2017, the Steering Committee and HTFC conducted a workshop with community Elders, where the Elders spoke about traditional land use such as fishing, hunting, and berry picking and provided the Planning Team with additional advice and direction. Also in January, HTFC met with FRCN Program Directors to introduce the Land Use Plan, review plan progress and to gather information.
In March 2017, HTFC hosted a youth engagement workshop with Grade 12 students, their teacher, and two Junior Council members. Also in attendance were FRCN Chief Crate and Councillors Shirley Cochrane and Vince Crate. The Youth provided their input into the Land Use Plan, including goals and objectives, community strengths and needs, and shared their ideas for FRCN’s future.
On March 23, 2017, the Land Use Planning Team held a Community Meeting where all members of FRCN were invited to share their vision and goals for the land. Following a presentation of background information, research and mapping by HTFC, community members were invited to make comments on the maps and findings and to place stickers on the goals and objectives they thought FRCN should pursue over the next 20 years.
Information provided at these workshops and meetings, and findings from background mapping and analyses, were then used to prepare a number of draft documents, including:
Goals & Objectives Report
History and Traditional Land Use Report
Reserve Land Base and Tenure
Community Facilities and Land Use Report; and
These documents will be combined into a final Background Report for FRCN once finalized. In the third and final year of the land use planning process, a Land Use Plan will be created showing priority areas for different types of development or conservation on Fisher River Reserves. These will be based on community member goals and objectives and on the opportunities and constraints for development identified through the background analyses. The FRCN community will continue to be engaged through the remainder of the planning process to ensure the plan is driven by community goals and responds to community needs.