The first rural council meeting of the year was successful in building a relationship between Fort McKay Métis, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the RMWB.
Mayor Don Scott started the first meeting in the community since 2001, by proclaiming Jan. 27, 2018 Family Literacy Day, saying everyone should read and encourage their children to read.
Mayor and Council went on to approve the name change of the hamlet from Fort MacKay to Fort McKay, which was originally presented to Council by Fort McKay Métis on Aug. 28, 2012. Councillor Stroud apologized for the lengthy wait for the motion to be added to council’s agenda.
The approved name change is also a part of the Fort McKay Area Structure Plan (ASP), which is a 10 year plan providing framework that guides future development in the hamlet. The policies in the ASP ensure that any development that happens in the hamlet will occur in a sustainable manner, maintaining long-term integrity of the land.
Several members of the community spoke to council about the ASP, with only one resident speaking against the plan for fear of eviction. One member of the community pointed out the housing shortage that would benefit from the ASP, while another said it would create entertainment and job opportunities for youth.
Jamie Doyle Director of Planning Development answered several questions from Mayor and Council, before a unanimous vote approved the ASP.
Quintal said the approval of the plan will provide essential services to the community, including being able to buy many necessities locally.
“Five years from now, I see a vibrant community that not only services its traditional Métis members and the First Nation members, but as well as potentially other people.”
He says it’s not only an opportunity to provide services to the community, but also an economic opportunity.
Council also approved a request from the ACFN to support their addition to reserve.
A letter requesting council’s support was originally sent from Chief Allan Adam, who explained that ACFN was forced from its reserve to Fort Chipewyan in 1956 and has since struggled to move forward in partnership with the country.
Adam said the approval doesn’t only benefit the ACFN, but also the RMWB as it will continue to strengthen their relationship.
Everyone involved showed enthusiasm for the blooming relationship between the Métis, First Nations and the RMWB.