Peguis First Nations members celebrate historic vote approving Trust plans
Peguis First Nation members voted overwhelmingly yesterday to accept community plans to spend $14.1 million from the Peguis Surrender Claim Trust to kick-start long awaited housing and a new arena.
“The positive vote marks an historic turning point in community,” said Chief Glenn Hudson. “It marks another milestone in our plans to rebuild and develop our First Nation after being illegally dispossessed of our lands at St. Peter’s reserve in 1907.”
The community vote allocates $10.6 million to replace the arena which burned 5 years ago. An additional $3.5 million is earmarked for housing construction slated to begin as early as this spring.
The monies will flow from the Surrender Claim Trust which was established in June, 2009 under the St. Peter’s surrender claim settlement agreement. The settlement of $126 million in financial compensation is one of the largest of its kind achieved to date across the country.
The vote asked three questions on the arena (525 yes, 217 no, housing (514 yes, 221 no) and Trustee honouraria (493 no, 257 yes).
“The trustee honouraria item failed to pass in the first vote but I`m confident that with more information and awareness our community will do the right thing and support our efforts” said Hal Sutherland, chair of the Community Trustees.
Peguis First Nation secured provincial funding contribution of $5.6 million toward its new arena construction in 2010. The Council has requested federal funding noting that other communities in the area have received this support. In total, the arena project is estimated to cost close to $16 million.
The Peguis Housing Board presented a proposal to finance and build 100 houses beginning in the spring. The Board housing plans include a mix of market housing, mortgages, rent-to-own and social housing to make sure that everyone`s needs will be addressed. Housing plans include additional opportunities for off reserve band members.
Peguis First Nation has approximately 8,778 members and is located 170 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba.