Lands and Leasing Department

The FMFN Lands and Leasing department comprises of both Commercial Leasing and Community Land Initiatives within FMFN.

Lands and Leasing:

The Lands and Leasing department administers commercial real estate and ground leases and other property agreements, Environmental Management Plan within the FMFN Commercial Real Estate portfolio.

Community Lands:

The Lands and Leasing department also is in the process of many Community Lands Initiatives including:

  • Additions to Reserve
  • Land Code Initiative
  • Business Feasibility Study
  • Environmental Management Plan
  • Community Survey Project
  • Community addressing and street naming
  • Fort McKay GIS
  • Various other Land initiatives
Benita Koochicum

Senior Manager, Lands, and Leasing

Benita oversees all aspects of both Lands and Leasing and Community Land Initiatives within FMFN including ATR, Land Code Initiative, and Industrial Parks, as well as manages the Nation’s Property Tax Program and other FMFN Land Initiatives.

Benita has over 19 years of experience with a combination of Surface Land Administration, Indigenous Relations, and First Nation Lands Management.

Benita graduated with a 2-year diploma from Southern Alberta Technology of Alberta in Indigenous Land Administration and Indigenous Studies. Benita is an active member of CAPLA (Canadian Association of Petroleum Land Administrators) and is on the Board of Directors for TALSAA (Treaty & Aboriginal Land Stewards Association of Alberta).

Benita is Cree from Peepeekisis First Nation, Saskatchewan.

Tara Telnes, ATT

Land Management Technician

Tara handles a variety of Lands and Leasing projects, and she enjoys any project that has an environmental focus. She is currently working on Fort McKay First Nation’s Land Code initiative and regularly hosts focus groups and community meetings regarding various topics. She is also very active with the operations and maintenance of FMFN’s industrial lease properties and can be contacted with any development permit or tenant requests.

Tara graduated from Olds College with a Diploma in the Land and Water Resource Management program, majoring in Land Reclamation. She currently holds a professional designation with the Alberta Institute of Agrologist as an ATT (Agrologist Technologist in Training) and is currently working towards an RTAg designation.

Tara is Cree, and a member of Fort McKay First Nation.

Carie Santo, BSc

Land Governance and Planning Analyst

Carie’s role on the Lands and Leasing team is to lead major land-related governance and planning projects such as the Land Code initiative and Additions to Reserve. She also coordinates grant applications for the department and assists with the development of policies and procedures relating to all aspects of land administration and environmental management on Fort McKay’s reserves.

Carie has 20 years of experience in First Nation land governance and administration. Immediately prior to joining the Nation, she was an independent consultant working with several First Nation communities in Alberta and previously spent 14+ years working for federal and provincial governments. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Calgary and is a guest instructor for the Applied First Nation Land Management Program offered through the TULO Center for Indigenous Economics and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC.