Chippewas of Rama First Nation buy Ontario government land

The Chippewas of Rama First Nation purchased 126-acres of Ontario government land adjacent to its existing territory.

The land is on the shores of Lake Couchiching on Rama Road.

Adding one kilometre to the community's shoreline access, the property was purchased as part of the Williams Treaties settlement of 2018 for $6.6 million.

"Our land base is small, and so with the acquisition of this property, the land base grows, and our future grows, and opportunities with it," said Chief Ted Williams.

The purchase price was determined by a provincial evaluation at the outset of negotiations.

Over the past few years, Rama's leadership worked with Infrastructure Ontario to complete a land appraisal, review of the land's environmental aspects, and other assessments for the property.

"We hold the land we refer to as Mother Earth in high regard," added Chief Williams. "We will look after this particular piece of property and do what we feel is proper and appropriate moving forward into the future."

The property boasts 50 buildings, including overnight cabins for campers, an 11,700-sq. ft. conference centre, a commercial kitchen, dining area, and offices.

Cathy Edney, the spokesperson of Rama First Nations, said the additional lands "will allow the community to grow, expanding programs and services to its members" in addition to providing increased land for a healing centre, recreation facility and gatherings.

Community consultations will now take place to determine the best uses for the development of the property.