Saugeen First Nation decision to hold a second designation vote.
This vote concerns 87 Block A lots only
The 87 lots in question are all the Band-owned lots in Block A.
Block A includes all cottage lots from Main Street Sauble Beach south to the end of 2nd Ave at Bruce Road 13). Band-owned lots on Thompson Ave. are not included in the designation vote.
So if your cottage is in the area described above and your lease was signed by the Band rather than a locatee, this directly affects you.
Block A Lots
All of the original lots in Block A (excluding Thompson Ave.) were allocated by the Federal Government to individual Band members, many of them veterans. Each of these Band members was given a “location ticket” which allowed them to lease the lot if they chose, as a way for them to generate revenue from the land. Over the years 87 of these locatees have died without a will or successors. The lots then reverted to being held by the Band.
The Indian Act requires that these Band owned lots must be subject to a designation vote of all Band members prior to the issuance of each new lease. The vote is to designate the lots as “seasonal residential” and the funds generated from leasing these lots goes to the Band as a way for it to offer programs and services to all Band members.
Block A Lots which are Not Affected
Subsequent to the original allocation of lots to individual Band members, the Band opened up additional areas (Chief’s Point, Thompson Avenue and Block B) which remain Band owned. At the time, each of these areas was given a perpetual designation and thus these lots are not subject to a designation vote each time a new lease is issued.
The Band held a designation vote for the 87 lots on March 5th, 2021. Indigenous Services Canada oversees the vote and, after counting the ballots, determined that the vote had failed. Once this result became known, many Band members raised concerns that they did not understand fully what they were voting for or against, while others said they did not clearly understand the implications of voting no. COVID and the inability of the Band to hold face-to-face meetings with members was also a factor in this lack of clarity.
Second Vote in July 2021
Given these misunderstandings, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Band Council have agreed that a second vote with better information and a clearer understanding is necessary. To that end, a second vote has been called for July 14, 2021with three community information meetings to take place prior to the vote.
2-Year Permits for the 87 Lots
In the meantime, the Leases for those 87 lots expire on April 30, 2021. To allow cottage owners to stay on these lots the Band and ISC have agreed that 2-year permits will be issued to each of these cottagers. After the vote (if successful) new leases will be issued for the the remainder of the period to April 30, 2026.
If Your Lot is One of the 87
For now, those 87 cottage owners should pay their service fee invoice when it arrives because, regardless of the outcome of the vote, you will be here for at least another two years. (Note: Band members do not pay the service fee on their cottage lot).
We wish to thank the Band for its decision to hold another vote, given the serious negative impacts of not doing so and hope that more clarity and a better understand of what is at stake will result is a positive outcome for everyone.