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Yellowquill First Nation Chief Henry Neapetung stated that the Band has finalized the deal that gives them ownership of Canterbury Towers. The nine-storey, 6,390 square foot building is located at 224 Fourth Avenue South.
The building, constructed in 1980, features private and government offices. Current tenants include Cigar Lake Mining Corporation and Family Law Division Services. It also contains a parking garage.
The Band purchased the complex for $4 million. The money came from the Yellowquill Treaty Land Entitlement Trust and through mortgages with Peace Hills Trust and the Royal Bank.
The acquisition is significant as it is expected to become the second urban reserve in Saskatoon. Muskeg Lake First Nation produced Saskatoon's first urban reserve when the Band constructed an office complex in the Sutherland area. Muskeg Lake negotiated with the City of Saskatoon for a servicing agreement that provides the equivalent of property taxes.
Chief Neapetung says that Yellowquill is anticipating a similar arrangement. "We've contacted City Council in regard to the precedent," he said. "They're very receptive."
The Chief believes that being an urban reserve will bring in business. "We think this will attract various businesses because it is Indian-owned."
In fact, the Band has already attracted the First Nations Bank of Canada. The Bank recently signed a lease and renovations have been completed. It has moved into the space that was formerly occupied by the Hongkong Bank of Canada. The Grand Opening of the First Nations Bank of Canada will be held September 23, 1997.
While significant, the acquisition of Canterbury Towers is only one of several economic activities that Yellowquill currently has underway. The Band recently increased the size of the reserve by purchasing land near Wadena. This land is intended for agricultural use. They also plan further economic development both on and off the reserve.
The Yellowquill First Nation is located approximately 250 kilometers east of Saskatoon. The First Nation has a membership of about 2,000 members. An estimated one-third of the members live on reserve.
"We think this will attract various businesses because it is Indian-owned,"
- Chief Henry Neapetung Yellowquill First Nation