First Nations communities in British Columbia and across Canada have been granted property rights that could allow large-scale commercial real estate developments on reserve lands.
The federal government and the Squamish Nation in North Vancouver have said that Bill C-24’s amendments to the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act give reserves more flexibility in attracting investor interest for commercial real estate projects.
The bill passed through Parliament last month with unanimous support from all parties.
Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said these rights, which include a land-title system and title assurance fund, close an “important regulatory gap that has so far hampered the development of large commercial real estate projects on reserve land.” The certainty of land title granted by such a regime would increase investor confidence, making the value of the property comparable with similar developments off the reserve, Strahl explained.
Previously, there was no certainty of land title on First Nations land on reserve. Native officials had complained it hindered them from finding financial backing for on-reserve development opportunities.
The Squamish Nation already has plans to build condominium units on prime undeveloped reserve land in West Vancouver.u
– With files from Peter Mitham, BIV