Members of Yellowknife’s City Council voted unanimously to take ownership of the first of three unoccupied parcels of Commissioner’s lands within municipal boundaries, Sept. 13.

The agreement with the GNWT would help the City cut down on red tape when it comes to projects like road maintenance.

“Without ownership, we see challenges,” city manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett explained. “It’s like owning versus renting.

“It adds time, it adds effort, it adds complexity … when we’re working on lands that aren’t ours in title,” she told the special, virtual meeting of Council.

Bassi-Kellett said the first of three items in the lands transfer agreement targets some “no brainers” like taking ownership of 10 kilometres of roads within Yellowknife that include School Draw Avenue, Gitzel Street, Rycon Drive and Con Road.

The City is still responsible for maintaining a majority of the municipality’s roads even though it doesn’t own them.

Though taking over ownership will only cost the City the GNWT’s standard one-dollar land-purchase price, it’s projecting benefits like faster turn-around on development approvals and reduced administrative spending.

Currently, the City of Yellowknife owns less than 11 per cent of lands within the municipal boundary.

The territorial government is the current majority landowner with 75 per cent of the city of Yellowknife still designated as Commissioner’s lands.

Related: Yellowknife councillors upbeat on bid to transfer GNWT lands to City

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