The Mayor and Council of Buffalo Narrows is advocating that changes come to Crown Land Lease fees for remote cabins and how these owners qualify for Traditional Resource User designation.

To receive a TRU, the owner must be a trapper, which would exempt them from paying lease fees.

But some find the trapping stipulation discriminatory.

“The trapping should not be an obligation to become a TRU,” said Deputy Mayor Derek Petit. “A TRU could be anybody that’s using it for berry picking, medicines, hunting, trapping and showing how to build a fire, that type of thing.”

The Buffalo Narrows Delegation brought its concerns to Sask. Cabinet Minister during the “Bear Pit” session at the Municipalities conference in Regina.

Petit, who himself has a remote cabin said he is not interested in becoming a trapper.

He estimates that approximately 75 percent of the remote cabins in the Buffalo Narrows area belong to locals.

Leadership also brought forward concerns over Crown Land lease fees, which will be going up.

Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said the Ministry conducted a review of lease fees after 15 years.

It was recommended that fees go from $275 a year to $1500, which was adopted.

Petit explained that the increased fee is motivating cabin owners to become trappers so they are exempt. He said the fee is too high.

He compared it to property taxes, stating you get more services from the municipality than you do from the government for half the price.

“Ratepayers in the community range from $700 to $1500 and you have all the amenities. You have all the services, the sewer and the water. So, for the amount that is being implemented it is an outrageous amount for what we use our leases for,” said Petit.

Duncan committed to looking at the issue of TRU designation, explaining the trapping clause was easier for Ministry officials to track who was using the land and what for.

He said are over 1000 leases in Northern Sask. and the Ministry does not want to police cabin owners to ensure they are using the land as they said they are.

He said he doesn’t want to turn the TRU into a recreational permit.

Duncan stated the implementation to $1500 has been extended to 2022-23, due to concerns raised.