Saskatchewan

Crooked Lake renters owe Sakimay First Nation $765K in unpaid lease fees

Indigenous Services Canada says renters who had been using reserve land at Crooked Lake owe the Sakimay First Nation a combined total of $765,000 in unpaid lease fees.

31 lessees had leases terminated due to unpaid rent

Thirty-one leases at Crooked Lake were terminated due to $765,000 in unpaid rent. (Submitted)

Thirty-one lessees who had been using reserve land had their leases terminated this year and owe the Sakimay First Nation a combined total of $765,000 in unpaid lease fees, according to Indigenous Services Canada.

A notice of rental arrears had been sent out to the leasers in December 2017 notifying them that if they did not pay outstanding rent within 30 days, their agreements would be terminated. 

One of the renters, the Ashfield family, was paying $461 a year for the beach front property, but when Sakimay reassessed, the rent was raised to $4,692 per year.

The Ashfields said they didn't pay their lease since 2010 due to a class action lawsuit filed against Sakimay by the renters.

"On September 23, 2016, the Federal Court ruled in favour of the cottagers' appraisal for the 2010-14 rental period. Canada has appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal. Hearings were held November 29-30, 2017; the decision is pending," a statement said.

Sakimay has created Basadinaa Property Management Ltd. to manage leases in response to the ongoing saga.

Representatives from ISC and Sakimay First Nations will be inspecting the 31 lots between July 23 and Aug. 23 to see if the land has been restored to its natural state, Edith Pedneault, ​spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada, said in an email.

In 2013 one of the renters — who used the lake for water-skiing, wakeboarding and fishing — had rent raised to $4,000.

"Gee, that's too high," Marc Saleski, who had been paying $700 annually, told CBC at the time.

If the former renters have not remediated the land they had used, they could be billed for any work which must be done.

With files from Kendall Latimer

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