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Ottawa, First Nations agree to work jointly on former army base land in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG- The federal government and Treaty 1 First Nations have agreed to work together on a deal over a southwest Winnipeg military base that has been idle for 14 years.

A news release says the agreement in principle on the Kapyong Barracks will help develop a final settlement, which is to include a sale price and land-use plans.

A lawsuit over entitlement to the site put business development of the valuable real estate on hold for much of a decade.

The two sides have been negotiating since 2015 when the former Conservative government said it would not appeal the latest Federal Court ruling siding with First Nations.

The land became vacant in 2004 when the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry relocated to CFB Shilo near Brandon, Man.

The First Nations want to turn the area into a large economic development zone, also known as an urban reserve, with housing and retail space.

“Kapyong represents a bright future for all Indigenous people,” said Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches, on behalf of the seven Treaty

1 First Nations Wednesday.

The federal government, led by former prime minister Stephen Harper, declared the military base surplus in 2007 and attempted to sell to its Crown corporation developer.

That redevelopment plan was shelved when the Treaty 1 First Nations filed a lawsuit over whether Ottawa should have consulted them before selling the land to someone else.

Ottawa is planning to demolish the barracks in two phases beginning next month.

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