SARNIA, Ont. - With the stroke of a pen and a handshake Shell Canada has transferred 70 acres of land to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

The property is located near Shell's Corunna, Ont. site on LaSalle line.

It has been leased out as farm land since Shell acquired it from the federal government in the 1960s, though it had belonged to the First Nation up until the 1920s.

Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain says it's an opportunity to grow the community. “There's an opportunity you know 50 to 60 houses, maybe some commercial buildings, parks, who knows?”

Shell Canada’s Sarnia refinery general manager, Guy Hackwell says the gift comes after several years of fostering relations.

“And I think it's a reflection of the fact that we want to enable the Aamjiwnaang First Nation to continue to grow and it's a sign of our commitment to the relationship.”

The land will be ready for development once reserve status is secured from the federal government, says Plain.

“Because it's been farmed over the last number of years there is no trees, the environmental footprint for us to develop would be very small so we won't have to be clear-cutting or anything of that nature. So that kind of makes this ideal as well.”