Calgary's S.W. ring road deal signed at ceremony
Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Tsuu T'ina Chief Roy Whitney made agreement official
The agreement to build the southwest leg of Calgary’s ring road through the First Nation territory west of the city was signed by officials at a ceremony on Wednesday.
Tsuu T’ina Chief Roy Whitney, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver signed the $341-million deal.
"It's such a big historic event for us today, so to say I'm nervous is probably an understatement," said Whitney, adding this is the biggest event since the creation of Treaty 7 in 1877.
"This sets a new course, a new path, a new opportunity as our people continue to evolve."
In the deal, the nation agreed to transfer 428 hectares of land to Alberta for the new transportation and utilities corridor.
In compensation, the province will give the Tsuu T’ina 2,160 hectares of new reserve land near Bragg Creek worth an estimated $44 million.
In addition to land, the province will give the band $275 million and pay roughly $66 million to replace housing and other buildings that will have to be torn down to make way for the ring road.
The deal was approved by Tsuu T'ina members in a referendum last month.
"It allows the opportunity for our young people to evolve their own capacity, their own knowledge and education, but as well as become entrepreneurs to assist in the development of those lands around the ring road as it enters our community," said Whitney.
Ottawa still has to approve the changes to the reserve's boundaries.
“We will work in partnership with the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the federal government to proceed with the land transfer. This work will be guided by a committee with representatives from all parties and we will continue to work together in good faith," said McIver in a release.
The agreement also stipulates that the province will purchase a corner of Weaselhead Park from the city for the project.
An existing high-pressure gas line and overhead electrical lines will also be relocated from the park to the new corridor, the province said.
The province estimates the cost for building the ring road to be roughly $1.9 billion.
Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said getting the ring road finished will help ease congestion in south Calgary.