Ochekwi-Sipi | Treaty 5 | 1875

Land Use Planning

BACKGROUND

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).

PROJECT GOALS

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.

CURRENT PROGRESS

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

  • Terrain Analysis

  • Population Report

  • Community Facilities and Land Use Report; and

  • Infrastructure Assessment

NEXT STEPS

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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT LAND USE PLANNING

Q: What is Land Use Planning?
A: Land use planning is a way for communities to organize and control the use and development of land.

Planning helps communities to make decisions about how land in the community should be used. It involves thinking about what the community wants to do, looking at different ways to do it, and then choosing the best way.

Land use planning looks to the future: at how our community will change and grow in the years to come and it helps us to get ready for this change. Land use planning is also concerned with the present: at how our land is currently used, at today’s land-related problems and it helps us to find ways to solve these problems. Land use planning is also interested in the past: in planning for the future, we want to respect traditions, culture and our community’s historical use of the land.

Land use planning will help us make decisions regarding the use and development of our land, including:

  • Roads

  • Housing

  • Community uses such as schools, health facilities, recreation, social services, parks

  • Business opportunities

  • Industrial land, such as warehouses, fuel storage, manufacturing potential

  • Servicing such as water supply, waste treatment (sewage, recycling, garbage)

Q: Why do We Need a Land Use Plan?
A: Land use planning can provide many benefits to communities. Some of the reasons communities get involved in planning are:

To Prepare for the Future – Land use planning helps communities to anticipate future community needs and prepare for future growth and change.

To Save Money – Land use planning can help communities keep the cost of new development and services as low as possible. For example, a plan can make sure that new houses are located to make the best use of available land and roads are laid out in an efficient manner.

To Avoid Land Use Conflicts – Through planning, communities can separate uses of land which can conflict with one another because of noise, odour, hazardous materials or other potential nuisance (e.g., noise from diesel generators can be a nuisance for residents in nearby homes).

To Protect Important Features – Land use planning can protect historic, cultural and natural features, (e.g., access to water, sacred sites, cemeteries, sensitive ecosystems, historic sites, views, natural areas).

To Address Environmental Concerns – Land use planning allows for development to be planned to avoid sites which are unsuitable for development because of environmental limitations (e.g., unstable soils, areas with a risk for flooding, poor drainage, contamination).

Q: How will the community be involved in the Land Use Plan?
A: It is important to hear from many different voices during the planning process. Community members will be engaged at workshops, small group meetings, surveys or questionnaires, and community meetings. Community members will be kept informed of the planning process through regular updates on FRCN’s website, radio station, social media, and newsletters.

The planning process will also be supported and guided by a Steering Committee composed of individuals that are representative of the community as a whole. The Steering Committee includes:

  • Chief and Council (5 members)

  • 2 Elders from the community at large

  • 2 Youth from the community at large

  • 2 Other Community Members

  • The FRCN Director of Operations

  • The FRCN Interim Lands Manager

Q: What is the land use planning process going to achieve?
A: The land use planning process will produce the following desired outcomes:

  1. Enable the FRCN membership to confirm a community vision and guiding principles to work towards the utilization of their lands and resources.

  2. Create a plan that considers and respects the social, economic, geographic, and political realities of the FRCN Community.

  3. Build a foundation for economic development while respecting and preserving land from a cultural and historical viewpoint.

  4. Produce a “living” document that is frequently reviewed and amended to incorporate change and growth.

  5. Assist in decision-making on land management issues for overall community development

  6. Guide the direction to be taken regarding the effects of potential annual flooding on developed land.

  7. Increase knowledge of the value of FRCN lands and resources, which will be identified through environmental and physical assessments. This knowledge will contribute to more informed decision-making, which better meets the land-use needs of the community.

  8. Completion of maps of all FRCN reserve lands, which incorporate future plans, current land use, and traditional land use that took place in the past.

  9. Strengthen accountability and transparency measures of the FRCN Chief and Council, as supported by the members of Community.