The fate of the only unresolved leg of Calgary’s ring road will come down to a June 30 referendum by members of the Tsuu T’ina First Nation.

Chief Sandford Big Plume confirmed that a tentative deal for the southwest portion of the ring road has been hammered out with the province, but warned that if nation members don’t approve, it will never be built on Tsuu T’ina land.

“We will put it to rest — it’s done,” Big Plume said at a news conference yesterday “(The province) would have to look at a plan west of the nation.”

Years of contentious negotiations have failed to find an answer to the final piece of Calgary’s ring road, with both sides stalling over compensation and land rights.

While Big Plume refused to discuss specifics of the agreement that is being endorsed by the nation’s leaders until it has been reviewed by residents of the reserve, he said the provision of land was more important than monetary compensation.

About half of the nation’s 1,600 members will be eligible to vote in the referendum and Big Plume said meetings would be held until then to discuss the agreement.

Jerry Bellikka, a spokesman for Alberta Transportation, said the deal, once ratified, would still require a review by the federal government that could take up to a year, but he still expects to see the entire ring road completed by 2015.

He said the province believes the deal in place will move forward despite its fate hinging on the vote of Tsuu T’ina members.

“We’re not looking at other alternatives, we’re not looking at a Plan B right now,” he said.

Route plan
The southwest section of the ring road will stretch from Glenmore Trail to Highway 22X.