Mr. Speaker, today I'd like to talk about the issue of recreational land lease rental fees being increased on cabin owners who reside on territorial land in the NWT.
On April 1, 2018, the Department of Lands increased the minimum land lease rent fees on all cabin owners and subsistence harvesters who have recreational land leases on territorial lands. The fees went up 560 percent, going from an annual amount of $150 up to $840. This is an extraordinary fee increase to impose all at once. These fee increases have disrupted many people, not only in Fort Smith, but people in all regions across the territory, as well.
I know that our new Minister of Lands is well aware of this issue, because he made numerous Members' statements on it and asked the former Minister of Lands about these fee increases many times during the previous Assembly. In fact, I counted at least 31 occasions during the 18th Assembly where the Member for Nahendeh spoke and asked questions about land leases, so he is familiar with the file and the issues these increases bring to people. Having said that, now that he is Minister of Lands, I am wondering if he is going to make any changes regarding these large fee increases for recreational territorial leases.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister holds considerable discretionary power over these types of issues, and, with this being a new Assembly with different priorities, I see potential for a change in course on this file, so I urge the Minister of Lands to reconsider these exorbitant fee increases and to instead modify the increases to a lower amount. I'm not asking the government to scrap the increases altogether, but rather listen to the people and make responsible decisions, because this decision affects all the people of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will have questions for the Minister at the right time. Thank you so much.