We had 49 completed surveys with positive results:
Are you in favour of a 2-3 year lease extension for the Hidden Valley Golf Resort?
41 Yes (84%)
1 "Doesn't matter"
Would you be interested in hearing more information regarding the lease renewal?
43 Yes (88%)
Feedback received was most Nation members wanted more access to beach facilities and golfing.
Chief Fred Rabbit Carrier
Siksika Nation Chief and Council
Dear Chief Rabbit Carrier
Re: Your letter dated May 22, 2013
I am in receipt of your letter dated May 22, 2013, which was received on Thursday June 6th. While I appreciated the fact that you indicated that Chief and Council is now "undertaking a comprehensive public consultation with its members to seek their input on the future of the resort lands", we as the official representatives of the 305 cottage owners were not informed of any such consultation process until the receipt of your aforementioned letter. Please appreciate the fact that we have initiated our own community information process (not to be confused with consultations) in the absence of any such information and the lack of communications between ourselves even though we have tried unsuccessfully on a number of occasions. One of the items that we wanted to discuss with you is the possibility of working together as business partners on the distribution of HVGR related materials in order to obtain informed voting on the proposed referendum on the 2-3 year lease extension. That is now of course a moot matter.
As you stated, "the outcome of the referendum in 2012 was due...to misinformation and misunderstanding among our voting members". We are therefore reluctant to cease our community information process due to the fact that prior to the December 2012 referendum, we respected your advice not to communicate with Siksika Nation members and that you would be responsible for properly informing Nation members prior to the referendum. Many of the Nation members that we have met with since the December 2012 referendum, told us that they never received any such information and were unaware of the voting issues. Due to their misinformation and misunderstanding, many decided to vote NO for obvious reasons. I am sure that you appreciate our dilemma and why we cannot agree to cease communications with the Siksika Nation membership for the foregoing reasons. To once again follow your advice to "cease communicating" as stated in your letter of May 22, 2013, would be to our disadvantage and would not be upholding our fiduciary obligations to the cottage owners who look to us for constructive leadership.
We have been advised by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada that if there is to be a referendum on a short term 2-3 year lease extension, it would have to be done no later than September 14, 2013. In order to avoid the expiration of all Sub-Lease Agreements effective October 31, 2013, the referendum process must respect the following timeline in order to receive the required Ministerial Order-in-Council pursuant to the Indian Act voting regulations:
* June 24: Call for referendum by Chief and Council - allowing 2 weeks to prepare all related documentation by AANDC.
* July 8: Begin preparation of eligible voters list and allowing 1 week for its completion.
* July 15: Start of 42 day notice period for all eligible voters both on-reserve and off-reserve.
* September 11-14: Dates for referendum for on-reserve and off-reserve members following the 42 day notice period.
* September 16 - October 31, 2013 (allowing for 33 working days or 6 weeks): Prepare application for Ministerial Order-in-Council; register the outcome of the vote and prepare all essential documentation in order to have the MOC signed no later than October 31, 2013, sooner if possible (assuming that the referendum was positive).
As you can see, the timing for the referendum process to be completed, based on the foregoing Indian Act regulations schedule, is very tight indeed. Consequently you have a small window of opportunity to act on the proposed referendum on the 2-3 year HVGR lease extension. Our opinion surveys administered on May 9 and June 5 indicated 68% and 87% support respectively on the HVGR lease extension, especially among those (40 years and under) who use it on a regular basis. This is indeed welcomed news for our long-term and successful business partnership.
I must reiterate that we have respected your previous advice and recommendations. As such, we now have a new Board of Directors as requested and have for the first time ever two Nation members on its roster. We have formed a new Negotiations Committee with Andrew Bear Robe as its Chairman, a well respected Nation member. We promoted internally two long-term Nation employees, Darren Drunken Chief to Operations Manager and Malcolm Many Shots to Supervisor of Resort Operations. We have increased our funding for on-reserve recreational and social events, including those on Resort lands on Siksika Days. We plan further social interaction events between Nation members and cottage owners to promote good-will and mutual understanding.
I hope that you will respect our communication initiatives as we have respected yours.
Andrew Bear Robe
Vice-President & Chairman, Negotiations/Communications Committee
Hidden Valley Golf Resort Association
cc. - HVGRA Board of Directors/Negotiations Committee
- Siksika Nation Chief and Council
RESULTS OF THE HVGRA OPINION SURVEY TAKEN AT THE SIKSIKA HEALTH FAIR
1. Are you in favor of a 2 to 3 year lease extension for the Hidden Valley Golf Resort?
YES: 98 NO: 40 UNDECIDED: 6
Note: a total of 144 respondents; out of the 40 respondents that voted NO - 25 wanted more information on the lease renewal; 6 respondents did not answer this question but all wanted more information on the lease renewal.
2. What changes can we make to ensure the Resort will continue to operate?
* Doing well as is; all good; good that Siksika people are hired (7 x).
* More activities for the children and youth; free golf lessons for those youth who cannot afford fees (7 x).
* More Siksika Days to enjoy the Resort, more golf, swimming, and not just Wednesday (24 x).
* More involvement and communication with the Siksika Nation communities, e.g., golf tournaments and activities; better relationship with Siksika members; more friendly environment and dialogue (8 x).
* Restaurant menu.
* New management (8 x).
* Better treatment of and more Siksika employees (8 x).
* More advertising and signage on the reserve (2 x).
* More information on the land.
* An agreement between Resort residents and Band members.
* Free food.
* Create a job for a Marshall.
* Work together as a team between Native and non-Native people; more partnership (2 x)
* 18 hole golf course (3 x).
* Charge small fee and discounts to Band members (3 x).
* Siksika Nation members should be on the Board.
* Speak to the Elders and more feedback from the Siksika people.
* Siksika Nation to operate Resort as a business and independent management; lease is up (2 x)
* More security and making it more safe for children and adults of all ages (2 x).
* More work for Siksika trades people.
* More information on benefits.
Summary: significant changes are desired in the following operational areas:
* increased Resort access (24 x)
* improved communications and dialogue, improved relationships, more friendly environment and involvement with Siksika members (8 x)
* new management (8 x)
* better treatment of and hire more Siksika employees (8 x)
* more free youth activities (7 x)
* HVGR is being managed well as is (7 x)
3. Would you be interested in hearing more information regarding the lease renewal?
YES: 113 * NO: 26
* Note: a total of 139 respondents; includes NO and undecided voters that want more information on the lease renewal. It is a clear that Siksika members want more information.
4. If you have additional comments please add below.
* Extending the lease would be nice.
* I just want to golf.
* Just sign deal now.
* Chief and Council need to have a clear consultation with Siksika members.
* I hope everything turns out well.
* Good luck; Awesome
* Keep it beautiful.
* Why do they want this land back, we have no revenue coming in once [it] is vacated.
* Dates for meetings with HVGR.
* Clean the lake so it does not feel slimy.
* More information.
April 20, 2013
HVGR Negotiating Committee - AGM Report
April 11, 2013
The meeting that was held in Calgary on Monday, April 08, 2013 had about 20 people in attendance. We kept our earlier commitment to organize a meeting in Calgary for the urban Siksika Nation members and provide information previously requested. We provided the HVGR financial statements that are now posted on this website along with a handout and schedule of HVGR’s Annual Rights payments from 1991 to 2012 inclusive. This information is also on our website.
Overall this was a positive meeting in that we gained important insight regarding the concerns of the Siksika Nation members and for them hopefully a better understanding of HVGR cabin owners. This was a step forward in our goal to have open communication with the Siksika Nation and future meetings for on-reserve Siksika Nations members are planned for later this month and May 2013. We are holding these meetings with the anticipation of there being a future for HVGR after 2013. It has been clearly communicated by our Committee that we need a referendum to be called by Chief and Council no later than June 30, 2013 and that a 2-3 lease extension would mean the continuation of Rights payments and other economic benefits flowing to the Nation. The meaning of the No vote from last December's referendum means no commercial revenue to the Nation from non-Nation people would be possible until such time as any new proposal and new land designation is received.
A common thread identified was a lack of communication from Chief and Council to both its own people and to HVGR. Though beyond our control, we hope this will soon change. We are of the view that many Siksika people are in favor of a lease extension in order to negotiate a new lease. However, the feedback we have received is that any new lease proposal will need to be improved [i.e.: shorter term, more money and other considerations.}
See the Q&A page for more information.
The December 12, 2012 Siksika Nation ballot asked “Having had full opportunity to consider and review the Revocation and
Designation which was attached to the Notice of Referendum dated October 29, 2012, do you agree to the Revocation and
Designation?” It was unfortunate that Chief and Council did not effectively explain to Nation members the plain meaning of the Revocation and Designation vote. As we know, the outcome of this vote was more “No” votes than “Yes”.
This No Vote means that once the existing lease expires the land will not be legally available to the Nation for commercial use of any sort including any use that involves renting or leasing of this land to any entity. This vote was seeking approval for the commercial use of the land in general for the economic benefit of the Siksika Nation. It sought primarily an extension of the Head Lease which expires at the end of this year between the Nation and the Crown. HVGR is not a party to that lease.
The Sublease between the Siksika Nation and HVGR expires October 31, 2013. Without an extension to this lease that must be
approved prior to its expiry, this land will revert to “Reserve Lands” and will not be legally available for commercial use of any sort by Siksika Nation. If the Siksika Nation were to later decide to again pursue commercial use of this Land it will be legally obliged to seek the approval of the Crown. Using the Siksika Industrial Park development as an example, it seems likely that this approval process would take many years and would involve significant expense. There is also no guarantee that a non-Nation partner would be found who would be interested in entering such an arrangement. In the meantime, no revenue could be generated for the Nation from this land.
The option of a short term extension to allow for full consultation with the Nation will guarantee revenue and other benefits for the Nation on the existing terms of the Sublease. HVGR is committed to full sharing of information and consultation with the Siksika Nation during this process, which it is hoped will result in a new long term deal that will ensure strong revenue and benefits for the Nation for years to come. A two year lease extension would provide over $445,000 cash directly to the Nation in addition to continued employment of Siksika staff and the other economic benefits listed below.
Main Economic Benefits of HVGR
1. Annual Rights cash payment to the Nation,
2. Salaries and benefits for Siksika employees,
3. Payments made to Siksika contractors,
4. Expenses paid for damage to Resort and flood prevention (Berm, Flood and Wind Storm), and
5. Use of Golf Course and Resort Facilities for Siksika community.
In 2012, Maintenance Fees paid by 305 cabin owners to run HVGR and includes the monies necessary to provide the above
economic benefits to Siksika Nation was $1,319,125.00. (One million, three hundred nineteen thousand, one hundred and twenty-five Dollars)