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How urban reserves support local business and municipal economies – Municipal World

October, 2023

While most Canadians generally understand the concept of First Nation reserves, comparatively few know about urban reserves. In fact, you may live or work adjacent to an urban reserve without even knowing it.

To the naked eye, an urban reserve looks like any other piece of municipal property. It can take the form of a hotel, office building, development lot, post-secondary institution, and more. An urban reserve is simply a section of traditional reserve land that exists within a larger municipality. They can be created either when a First Nation purchases land within a municipality or when city limits expand to and impact existing reserve lands.

How Do Urban Reserves Work?

The concept of urban reserves is not new. The oldest one is Muskeg Lake Cree Nation urban reserve in Saskatoon, created in 1988. Generally, urban reserves are created to stimulate business activity, generate revenue, and create investment and employment opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable on other reserve lands.

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