First Nation Land development
by Contributed - Story: 75008
May 11, 2012 / 5:00 am
May 11, 2012 / 5:00 am
The phrase has had people running in all directions for years, usually as far away as possible from a leased project offered on First Nation Land, but is the reputation well deserved?
The clear answer is yes and then again no!
Over the next month I want to bring to your attention some trends on First Nation land in terms of development and community planning and hopefully update you on why in my opinion, the First Nation development models have a lot of credibility and the confusion surrounding leases and renewals are largely ignorant assumptions.
Without a doubt, there have been examples of some very poorly managed projects in BC on First Nation land which have led to access issues years down the road after tenants had thought that they had purchased a right to use a property for a period of time.
This in itself, while it is cause for concern has not been an issue in the Okanagan. In fact I would say, we are seeing quite the opposite. We are seeing stellar examples of mutually beneficial trilateral agreements between First Nations, government and the private sector, leading to the development of first class residential and tourist properties.
As a consultant to the development industry for many years, I have seen examples of badly structured disclosure documents that should make any potential purchaser run and they weren’t on First Nations property. Due diligence is a facet of a purchase that is critical to any Buyer and the role of the REALTOR® is to assist with interpreting some of the important development documents you receive in the buying process whether you are buying development property on leasehold land or freehold.
In Mexico for example, I have worked on coastal projects that by law can only be sold with a 50 year right to use with no guarantee to lease renewal by what is the government of a developing nation. The Fiedecomiso is the lease you are required to sign if you purchase a right to use Mexican property within 50km of the coast. The difficulty can come in ascertaining whether the right to use you are being sold is actually owned by the person selling it. Aside from the fact that you don’t live in the country, don’t understand their real estate and tax laws and the land title system is a far cry from the security of the torrens based system we have in British Columbia, just knowing whether someone is selling you something that they own is beyond scary.
In a case not too many years ago, many families lost all rights to their retirement and investment properties at Baja Beach & Tennis Club in Ensanada because the “rightful” owner of the land showed up with a legal eviction notice claiming he had never sold the land to the developer of the project. The US government in this instance was unable to assist the investors who lost everything in this rather unusual story.
Despite that, I saw Mexican real estate being sold at alarming rates to foreign investors with little or no thought to security of their investment.
The good news is that over the next few weeks I hope to educate you that at least locally there are some wonderful opportunities on First Nation lands, and great examples of efficient community planning.
Read more The Accidental Journey articles
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.
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