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First Nations-Municipal Collaboration Programs

Sawridge First Nation, Town of Slave Lake and Municipal District of Lesser Slave River No. 124, AB

  Sawridge First Nation Town of Slave Lake MD of Lesser Slave River


6,782 2,929
Regional Population/ Service Area Slave Lake Greater Trading Area (120 km radius): 21,000
Census Canada estimated 2010 regional population: 28,100

For three days in May 2011, all of Canada watched as forest wildfires consumed the Town of Slave Lake and nearby lands. Located 250 km north of Edmonton, the three communities directly affected by this natural disaster decided to rebuild together.  

Major industries economic drivers

Oil, gas, forestry and manufacturing are important sectors, along with health, financial, government, and transportation services.

History of the relationship

When smoke from the 2011 fires cleared, the Government of Alberta gave the three communities $64 million in disaster relief funding. They set up a Tri-Council to lead recovery efforts in the region and to do strategic planning. Then they created an Economic Development Committee (EDC) and hired a regional Economic Development Officer (EDO).

Important documents

CEDI's focus

The communities' EDC identified five joint priorities as part of their joint communication strategy:

  • housing
  • land development including a joint land use inventory
  • tourism development opportunities
  • employment and labour initiatives
  • business development initiatives


October 2013

Needs Assessment Workshop is completed.

January 2014

Relationship Building and Strategic Planning Workshops are completed. Communities also complete a joint land inventory and shared land use plans as part of developing a Regional Growth Plan.

May 2014

Hosted by the Sawridge First Nation, the communities sign a Friendship Accord and celebrate their collaboration during an event called Honouring the Fire Round Dance.

June 2014

Reeve Murray Kerik sits on a panel discussing First Nations-municipal collaboration at FCM's Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, ON.

August 2014

To forge a better relationship, the three leaders and their families go on a canoe trip together.

September 2014

Chief Roland Twinn, Reeve Murray Kerik and former Regional EDO Kim Dyke are featured guests at a CEDI panel at the 21st Annual Cando National Conference and AGM in Nanaimo, BC.


Construction begins on a Legacy Centre that includes a meeting hall, child care centre, and office space for lease to community groups. It is also the region's evacuation centre in case of emergency. All three communities pay to build it.

November 2014

The Tri-Council develops a draft Communications Policy and holds the area's first ever Regional Economic Development symposium.

March 2015

The partners develop a joint tourism strategy.

May 2015

The partners hire a consultant for the joint tourism strategy.

June 2015

Chief Roland Twinn, Reeve Murray Kerik and Mayor Tyler Warman are featured on a CEDI panel at FCM's Annual Conference in Edmonton, AB.

November 2015

Community engagement sessions are held to discuss the draft joint tourism strategy.


Tri-Council reps are invited to Big Lake County to offer advice on First Nations-municipal collaboration to elected officials from First Nations and municipalities in the region.


The three leaders are featured in a video (at the 10-minute mark) at the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties conference in Edmonton, AB.


A joint workshop develops a structure in support of regional economic development.


All three partners identify funding options in support of long-term planning for joint economic development.


FCM Board member Lorne Olsevik gives the three communities a certificate of recognition to thank them for being CEDI pioneers and taking a lead in First Nations-municipal collaboration.



Page Updated: 19/01/2017