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First Nation celebrates groundbreaking on city's first urban reserve

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Winnipeg's first urban reserve was marked in groundbreaking ceremony this morning on the site of a former St. James-area Manitoba Hydro building.

Long Plain First Nation bought the Madison Street property seven years ago and it has taken since then for the federal government to officially recognize the land as having reserve status.

"We have yet to determine the true value of what today means to us but I do know one thing. There is a lot of business activities that are going to come out of here," Chief David Meeches told about 150 guests invited to the site.

The urban reserve status at the site was celebrated Thursday with a traditional Anishinaabe pipe ceremony, honour songs and a smudge.

The city signed a municipal services agreement to set up infrastructure and fees for services for a commercial development. 

Within the next several months, a  gas bar and smoke shop are expected to open. Plans also call for a four-storey office building to be built on the site in the next few years.

YellowQuill College is the existing tenant on the site.

In 2009 initial plans had called for the site to showcase a new Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs governance building, but those plans fell through.

History

Updated on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

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