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Manitoba First Nation uses urban reserve gas station to pump revenue – CP

by ahnationtalk on February 25, 2015571 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Feb 24, 2015

WINNIPEG _ First Nation chiefs and officials from the three levels of government braved a stiff winter wind on Monday to officially open a gas bar and smoke shop on the first urban reserve inside Winnipeg.

A traditional prayer in Ojibway, an honour song and speeches preceded an official ribbon-cutting at the Madison Petro-Canada Gas Station and Convenience Store, near the Polo Park shopping centre.

The business is the result of a partnership between Manitoba’s Long Plain First Nation and Petro-Canada (TSX:PCA), which has 20 other partnerships for gas stations on urban reserves in Western Canada.

The business will allow aboriginal people with treaty status to buy items, such as tobacco and gas, without paying the provincial sales tax.

Customers who present treaty cards get a full PST rebate, so that a package of 25 cigarettes that would retail for $15 elsewhere cost $13.75.

Long Plain has two other gas stations _ one on the First Nation about 90 kilometres west of Winnipeg, and another in Portage la Prairie.

“We went hard on this because we knew it represented a source for economic sustainability for Long Plain. We have an aggressive urban reserve strategy because we believe that will give us a strong revenue stream,” said band Chief Dennis Meeches.

Long Plain bought the site in 2005 from Manitoba Hydro and it took years of talks with the federal government to convert the property to reserve status. The band also had to reach a deal for the gas pumps and sign a municipal services agreement with the city, where fees are paid in lieu of taxes.

Madison Street is the first Petro-Canada station to open on land owned by a Manitoba First Nation.

There are two other urban reserves on the city’s outskirts. Swan Lake First Nation runs a gas bar and smoke shop in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg. The Roseau River First Nation has a similar business on land it owns off Highway 6.

Petro-Canada’s first partnership for a gas station on an urban reserve in the West was reached more than a decade ago in Saskatchewan. (Winnipeg Free Press)

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