Siksika Nation ends lease with Hidden Valley
Referendum may force cabin owners to leave First Nation's territory
People who own cabins on the Siksika reserve east of Calgary are set to be kicked out next year.
Band members voted in a referendum Wednesday against renewing the lease of the Hidden Valley Golf Resort.
The resort was built in the 1970s and includes 305 cabins, a nine-hole golf course with a restaurant and clubhouse and a man-made lake.
The current lease expires next October. The resort association had negotiated a new lease agreement with the Siksika chief and council.
Tim Nakaska is the president of the association. He said the new lease would have paid the band more than $22 million over the next 50 years.
However, some band members were upset with the process and forced the referendum.
Kelly Breaker led the campaign against the new lease. He said a 50-year lease is too long and the leadership of Siksika failed to consult band members on the issue.
"We’re not trying to ruin their fun, we just want the best deal for both of us and at this moment the deal that’s put forth on the table is not in our best interests at all," said Breaker.
However, Breaker said perhaps the deal could be renegotiated with the resort owners.
Tim Nakaska of the resort owners association said he was asked by the Siksika chief and council not to communicate directly with the band members.
Nakaska said unless another solution is found resort owners will have to move or abandon their cabins before next October.