A northern MLA says he is not pleased that the provincial government has frozen crown land lease fees for northern cabin owners.

“Absolutely not,” explained Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger.

Last week the fees were set at $888 for five years.

“And what happens after those five years? Guess what? They’re going to be increased again,” said Belanger.

A proposal introduced in 2019 would have seen annual Crown land lease fees increase to $1,500 over four years.

“I think we strike that balance where we’re seeing an increase. We’re obviously not getting the full $1500 that we were looking for at the beginning of this process. But, we strike a balance of getting in the middle,” said Environment Minister Dustin Duncan.

Belanger is imploring for robust discussion and consultations with northerners at the table before setting any new fees.

“These kinds of consultations were never undertaken to the extent they should have been. There should have been more robust discussions around this whole lease fee increases,” said Belanger.

“I think that everybody understood that an increase was probably justified, after more than 12 years of not increasing the lease fees, but, to from $275 all the way to $1500 in a pretty short timeframe was I think a little hard for people to understand,” Duncan said.

There are 937 remote recreational cabins and 15 remote residential sites on Crown resource land, primarily located in the north.