POLITICS

First Nation smooths out last bump in drive to finish Calgary ring road

10/25/2013 07:53 EDT | Updated 12/25/2013 05:12 EST
CALGARY - A Calgary-area First Nation has voted in favour of a deal that will pave the way for completion of the city's ring road.

Members of the Tsuu T'ina (soo-TIH'-nah) band cast ballots Thursday on a deal reached last month with the provincial government to complete the road's southwest leg.

The deal will see the First Nation sell 428 hectares of its land to the province for 2,030 hectares of Crown land, plus $340.7 million.

It also allows the First Nation to buy an additional 129.5 hectares of Crown land for $1.6 million.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford said in a news release that the ring road will benefit Calgarians and Tsuu T'ina people, and all Albertans because it will improve the flow of traffic through and around Calgary.

Tsuu T'ina Chief Roy Whitney says guarantees were needed before band members said yes.

“No matter the outcome of the vote, our community had to begin to heal and recover from this difficult debate.”

The road must be complete within seven years of the land transfer being finalized.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver also welcomed news of the vote.

"Everyone has come together as neighbours, as friends and as partners ... Both parties worked hard and in good faith throughout this round of negotiations," he said Friday.

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)